Monday, March 29, 2010

The Power of Words

Words – at first glance they are just groups of characters on a page, but when our thoughts are translated into emotions they have the power to inspire. Words are very important to us.

When used to good effect in a well-formed structure your self-confidence can improve; but when used negatively you can be tricked by the power of words. They can be used to twist your thinking and to manipulate.

There are so many words in the English language and a myriad ways of saying the same thing, so choosing the right word(s) matters. Often it’s all too easy to use too many words when fewer might be better. Alluding to this, Thomas Jefferson said, “The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.”

Your vocabulary can reveal much about you. Consider: Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “I learn immediately from any speaker how much he has already lived, through the poverty or the splendor of his speech.”

And do pay attention to what you say. It is worth remembering the words of 17th century English poet, Wentworth Dillon, who said, “Words once spoken can never be recall’d.”

Also beware of platitudes; instead, try to find new words. Write them down. Incorporate them into your next speech or conversation and better communicate your thoughts. Be clear and direct and you’ll help eliminate filler words such as um, er, like, or you know.

Use what you say to lift yourself up above the crowd; but be careful not to lose your audience by overusing unfamiliar words.

Think of the future, not just of the present.