THE POWER OF WORDS
Have we not at times said something and then regretted it? We then come up with “I should not have said that” or “That’s not what I meant to say”. Too late. The damage has been done. On the other hand, have we not felt affirmed, loved and consoled by the words of someone else?
Confucius said “Without knowing the force of words, it is impossible to know more”. There is much truth in this. Words have POWER. Words can hurt or heal. Words can inspire and illuminate. Words can encourage or challenge.
All great speakers carefully choose their words. It enables them to connect with the audience at both the level of head and heart. It is the way to clear, concise and convincing presentations/speeches that leave an indelible mark on the audience. What can words do?
Project. Words give an audience a picture of who we are, our credibility and our ability as a speaker. They can project the organization we represent, its professional capabilities and whether it is worth doing business with us.
Promote. It is the use of the right words balanced with captivating visuals in advertisements that sell a product. Without realizing it, we too promote ourselves at the workplace in the way we speak, behave and present ourselves.
Persuade. Using the right words can persuade a potential client to buy a product or invest in a service – a challenge speakers face when making sales presentations. In problem solving situations, it will be a combination of clear thinking and persuasiveness that prevails.
Pacify. Those who work in customer service will attest to the fact that exercising restraint and using the right words is the best way to calm down an extremely upset customer. In our inter-personal relationships, words can soothe someone hurting or bring hope to another.
Penetrate. Words can reach the heart; they can penetrate our emotions. We must use the right words, emotive words, in talks and presentations to reach our audience where they are at. Call to mind the stirring words of Martin Luther King Jr. in his speech “I have a Dream” or John Kennedy’s inaugural speech, calling Americans to ”Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country”.
In preparing a talk therefore, we have to really dig deep to search for the right words that can best get our message across. Build your vocabulary – use a dictionary or thesaurus Read books and articles. Listen to video presentations by motivational speakers and experts in various fields. See how words are used to captivate, convince and compel. It is going to be hard work – but well worth it!
A closing thought:
“Words are the key to the heart”. Chinese Proverb.