The Power of Words in the Workplace
Categories: Communication, Culture, Leadership, Leadership
When we are fully absorbed in an activity, the mind tends to get focused and more pointed. “Me” time away from business-at-hand allows the mind to become steadier, quieter, promoting more awareness, harnessing new energy, allowing us to be more attentive.
Rudyard Kipling said, “Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.” Words can change everything in a split second. Words can change our thoughts, our hearts, our minds, our world – and even others’ worlds.
Words can inspire, encourage and motivate. The words we use can determine our destiny. The words we utter are what we hear about ourselves, affect our self-image and alter our course. If we hear it, we think it, our brain believes it and we act upon it.
You may have seen the video that went viral of the blind man sitting on the pavement begging for spare change collecting only meager amounts when a Good Samaritan came along and changed the message on his sign. The words on the blind man’s sign changed from: “spare change?” to: “It’s a beautiful day but I can’t see it.” When people read the new words, the homeless man’s fortunes changed.
Think of your words as an echo. Whatever you put out will come back to you. Whatever follows “I am” ______ (i.e. tired, unlucky, etc.) will come back looking for you.
Thoughts, both positive and negative become the conduit to the “I am” phrase. When we say (and thereby hear) the words we invite those qualities in. When we constantly talk about negativity, lack defeat, our own words will pave the way for defeat, failure.
When I say, “I am so tired,” I actually get more tired. To change my course, I won’t necessarily say “I feel wonderful” (when I don’t) – however, “I will be refreshed soon” or “I’m looking forward to getting my second wind,” might work.
Listen to the difference in these few words:
- “What do you want?” vs. “How may I help you?”
- “Look on my website” vs. “Let me take this opportunity to answer that for you.”
- “Let’s meet and talk” vs. “I’d like to get together to explore ideas.”
- “Sorry” vs. “Please accept my apology.”
At Disney stores worldwide, good buyers are called “Guests” and potential trouble makers or shoplifters are called “Customers.” This is helpful when staff need to point out someone difficult to the store manager or security. They simply say, “A customer here needs help!” directing them to the potentially problematic “customer.”
Now that you better understand the incredible power of words, are you wisely choosing the words you use in the workplace?
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