Do you find words intriguing? Fascinating? I do, I love words!
I enjoy the subtle differences in meaning and emphasis we can achieve with just a few tweeks. Most of all I love exploring the “energetic weight” of different words and phrases – how they make us feel. But how do we unlock this and use it to our advantage?
A topical example, as I’m planning a week’s holiday in Belgium and the Netherlands right now, would be this. How does:
10 Top Things To Do In Bruges
The Perfect Couple of Days in Bruges?
Both are referring to the same information but one feels busy, rushed, work like, almost “angsty” – the pressure to get all 10 done in the time is implied – it’s quite heavy.
Whereas, The Perfect Couple of Days in Bruges feels relaxed, enjoyable – light. A smile comes to my face when I read it, I can imagine lovely photos and even better memories being created!
So why does it matter? With everything we do in our work lives, and indeed in our personal lives, we are likely to want people to engage with us so we need to make sure that what we are writing is engaging, that it gets across what we are trying to say.
Let’s take another example.
12 ways to clear your clutter
Finally…ditch the clutter forever!
I know which I’d go for. The first one makes me feel “yeah, yeah, Been there, done that, and 12 things is going to take forever” but the second one makes me feel “oh wow, that would be great” and I’d have to go and check it out.
Although I’m using headlines as examples in the above cases it is in all our language that this applies. And actually, it is MOST important in the things we say to ourselves. If we don’t inspire and engage ourselves then who else can we possibly hope to inspire or engage!! And yet…typically…we speak to ourselves more harshly than we would dream of speaking to a friend or family member.
When I’m coaching I’m forever picking up on language that my clients use and getting them to turn it round. Often we focus on what we don’t want and not what we do and since what we focus on grows we really don’t want to be doing that! So, lets look at the emphasis in a couple of common examples:
I don’t want to put on more weight. Yup, the focus is all on “put on more weight”, absolutely NOT what you wanted in this case.
I want to maintain my perfect weight. Now…what a difference, the focus is all on “perfect weight”
“I can’t afford to buy a new xyz” or “how can I afford to buy a new xyz?” – the latter is positive and affirming and also a question which opens up more possibilities (but thats for another day!)
Clearly this is just scratching the surface but hopefully it highlights the importance of the words and language we use and the power they can have. If you know you’d like some help in this regard just send me an email and lets set up a time to talk firstname.lastname@example.org
Until next time
with love as always