Harness the Power of Words

Content Always Rules in workplace writing … and the words you use deliver that content. To help you Harness the Power of Words, let’s discuss some of my favorite ‘Worst Practices’ – the poor word choices we often make and why we make them. Typically, my executive coaching clients fall victim to three flaws affecting the words they use … and don’t use.

  1. Our written language is different from our spoken version, a subtly different structure and style. It’s like the difference between a newspaper story and a radio news story about the same topic. It’s difficult to speak conversationally the way we write.
  2. Ironically, a subtitle for my business writing workshops is often ‘Write Like You Talk’, stressing the need for simplicity and conversational style even with the written word in the workplace. Everyone is busier than ever, doing more with less. It’s so easy to simply go with the first words you can think of or the words you usually think of. And that’s been good enough all these years, hasn’t it? It takes a rare blend of awareness, commitment and time to go beyond those choices to find the best word you can think of for a particular situation.
  3. Our words reflect our personalities, our values, often our view of our own self-worth. Depending on our education and background, we may still be fond of the more formal, complicated and flowery vocabulary we had to learn in school. We may be consciously or unconsciously motivated to write to impress, to flaunt, and even to intimidate.

If I’m hitting a nerve here – great. No need to thank me. That’s my job … and my pleasure. If you see yourself reflected in some of the above points – and are willing to do something about it – please keep reading workplace writing articles in future issues of ‘Communicate Confidently!’ If not, don’t. Just accept the reality of the old adage that warns ‘If you always do what you’ve always done, then you’ll always get what you always gotten.’ If that works for you, it works for me, too.

So, let’s benefit from some lessons learned on the journey towards harnessing the Power of Words, because the words you use do make a difference. A big difference.