I suppose some people would expect me to say this as my day revolves around communication but today has brought home again – words matter. Every sentence we utter or write can have an impact on people. It may be a good impact or in some cases it may be a negative impact. We have the ability to do both things.
Even with the arrival of new technology the importance of words is still undiminished. There are probably more words spoken, shared and written than ever before as we all like to keep the world updated through Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other social media networks. In each of those updates we can leave a little bit of joy, if only we think things through.
There is nothing worse than rushing to say something and fill the silence only to realise that you have had a negative impact on someone else. I have seen it happen, I have heard it happen and sometimes it has affected me.
I don’t think people mean to be rude, difficult or offensive. (Well not all the time) The key is that they just don’t think. It is a failure to engage the brain before opening the mouth as people have sometimes said to me. Today, I have overheard, or been part of, a number of conversations that have proved what I have just said. Those involved just said things and then went on their merry way without understanding how it made me feel.
Don’t worry I got over it. But it did make me think about what I say or do and how it may make people feel. As professional communicators we have to understand the use of words, what they bring but also what impact they may have on people. Just stop and reflect before you press send, open your mouth or leave a posting.