We use hundreds and thousands of them every day and yet we barely think about them. It is our words.
From the moment we get up and say good morning to the world, the dog or the first person we see, we use words endlessly. They are for the most part throwaway. But we know that they have the ability to hurt and heal if we want them to.
People will obviously say as a communicator I would put importance on words, and they are right I do value words. I feel we all need to pay extra attention to what we say and how we say it during these difficult days.
If you are unhappy about something make sure it is worthy of that attention. So many things are really just an inconvenience while we have a pandemic to deal with. If there is a CEO saying they are delighted then make sure it isn’t out of place when people are struggling for survival and many are dying.
People are rightly very sensitive to what is said. I have heard people get angry about the way some business leaders have spoken or about those that appear dismissive of the human suffering.
I have said many times, and it is said in my crisis communication book, that the little things really do matter. They matter because they show you and the business really do care. It matters because it shows authenticity and empathy. It matters because it shows an attempt to do the right thing. The right words may feel like a little thing but it really does matter.
Communicators are doing amazing things in the most challenging situation. They are making a real difference to people’s lives. It has been, and is, incredibly impressive. As we head into week four of the lockdown and national emergency I hope they can still remember the importance of the right words.