There are many ways you can choose to express yourself. The words you use matter. They make an impact.
Words can change the trajectory of a conversation, a meeting, a relationship and even a culture. Words inspire people to take action and even to order food!
Here are a few examples of radically different word choices.
- Do you like Chilean sea bass (it’s one of our favorite dishes at Eddie V’s and at Macello’s!)? What you may not know is that the fish you’re eating isn’t really a type of bass; it’s cod. Until 1977, the name Chilean sea bass didn’t exist. The fish was officially called a Patagonian toothfish. Chilean sea bass is a marketing invention, and goes to show that words do matter. When you are looking at a menu, would you rather order “Patagonian toothfish” or “Chilean sea bass?”
- The growing popularity of floating may be due in part to a language change. Would you rather be in a float tank or a sensory deprivation tank / isolation tank? The Wall Street Journal recently featured an article describing how people are installing float tanks in their homes. We have a membership to Float Sixty and have found it to be a powerful tool for better sleep, muscle recovery, reducing stress and even improving mental functioning. It’s been around for a long time but wasn’t something we’d considered in the past (maybe because deprivation and isolation aren’t words that we gravitate to?)
- At the Ultimate Culture Conference we attended yesterday, one of the most powerful language reframes came from Michael Koval, Chief of Police in Madison, Wisconsin. He talked about how he explained the role of a police officer as a guardian versus a warrior. He saw his officers as social workers who were equipped with department mandated tools. That changed the focus of the force from disciplining the community to serving the community. That’s an incredible culture shift and an amazing perspective.
Mark Twain said, “The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter—’tis the difference between the lightning-bug and the lightning.”
A favorite explanation from Zig Ziglar: Imagine turning to your beloved and saying, “Spending time with you makes me feel like the first breath of spring,” as opposed to “When I’m around you, it feels like the end of a long, hard winter.”
Carefully consider how you phrase things. It makes all the difference in how your message is received.