Words Matter

The words that you choose can change the world. It isn’t only the most memorable speeches like Martin Luther King Junior’s, “I have a dream” speech, or Winston Churchill’s rallying cries that change the world.”I have a dream” is memorable, but the flavour of MLK’s commitment to non-violence is also memorable, and likely of the same significance. The words that are used that shape the ideas and thoughts for many people. It is the language you are using every day that will change the world.

We live in a world where words are everywhere. Written, YouTube, podcasts, radio, everyone has something to say. The foundation of our communication, and the easiest way to share a thought between people, is words. But many people aren’t giving enough thought to the words that they are using. What happens when you ask an army of people to rise up and do something? What happens when you establish a nation of one type of thinking? Both of these words might be the right words for your cause, but it also may not be the right thing.

I want to struggle against the sea of words that don’t favour people. You might be expressing the right thing when you focus on the war on drugs but what does it feel like to be a disadvantaged person when an organization begins a war on homelessness. Is this a good thing, or should people be ducking for cover? I noticed in a previous post that I used the wording of building an army of people who want to change the world by helping employees be more engaged. The imagery is right in some way: a group of people with one mind, willing to fight for what is right. In other ways it isn’t what I really want to convey or be a part of. We don’t want to be a group of people who are just following orders, or worse yet, doing what the person next to you is doing.

So I gave it some thought. As we find our group of people who will work together to make employee’s life better, we’ll call it a community movement. We are a mass of people, all moving in the same direction. But we want to do it because we are in community. Because we believe the same thing, and will stand together for what is good for people.

Start adopting language that builds a community. Your words will affect your own actions and others.