In the age of emoticons, Snapchat, Twitter and text messaging, you might draw the conclusion that words are becoming less important to convey your opinions. Why tell someone that you are having a great day if you can share a funny cat video? We have a tendency to take the easy option, and with the explosion of instant social media, it has never been so easy to communicate “easily.”
The simplified communication style has invaded our business lives. Emails are rarely read properly unless they are shorter than a few lines. Presentations are filled with images with the absolute minimum text. In meetings, people speak in bullet-pointed language and rarely have to chance to explore their feelings in any depth. As a recruiter, I sometimes despair at the regurgitated phrases that candidates use in their CVs and interviews.
Do we value words so little that we sometimes choose to ignore them completely? In forgetting the power of words, we are forsaking our originality. Your language reflects who you are. If your words cannot accurately reflect your feelings, you risk being misunderstood and ignored.
The words that you choose are what helps set you apart.
I am the first to admit that the hustle and bustle of life doesn’t make it easy to slow down and focus on our language. The pressure of the endless “to do” list weighs heavy on all of us, and anything more than the curtest of conversations needs to be weighed up carefully. Many of us find our minds wandering if we talk about a certain subject with someone for slightly too long – we start thinking about what else we should be doing, and we stop listening.
I just think that we need to value conversations with each other a little more. I know that my relationships with co-workers and partners would benefit if I did.
However, it is not just about the mere act of talking. Our respective languages are rich with words that can transmit so many subtleties – we are just not aware of these words because we read so much less these days. Our lives are dominated by so many different forms of “entertainment”, that the joys of just picking up a good book are in danger of being forgotten. Next time you are on the bus (or anywhere else for that matter), get out your tablet and read! The more you read, the more expressive you become.
Again, I am probably preaching to myself more than anyone else!
Words can uplift you or oppress you. They can inspire love or terror in equal measure. They can give the highest praise or deliver the lowest insult. Words captivate and control our emotions. They anger us, they make us rejoice, they make us cry, and they make us hope. We're constantly judging our happiness based on the words given from someone.
It is worth taking care with the ones that you use.