Choosing your words carefully is an important element to Authentic Leadership. Actually, it’s important to every relationship you have. Your words have the power to influence and impact people’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
The way you communicate can either build or damage relationships. It can affect how people perceive you and your message. When you choose your words carefully, you can convey your message clearly. You avoid misunderstandings and misinterpretations. You begin the process of establishing trust and respect with the person or people you’re speaking with.
On the other hand, if you use inappropriate, offensive, or insensitive language, you can offend people. You can hurt their feelings, or even cause conflicts. Those people “tune you out” and that’s when miscommunication takes place. You assume because you said it the other person heard it. That is a mighty big assumption.
Words can have different connotations and meanings depending on the context, culture, and the life experience of the person or people they are spoken to. It’s crucial to consider the context and the receiver’s perspective when choosing your words. If you’re a leader YOU must ensure that you communicate effectively and respectfully.
This is never more true than when you’re attempting to communicate during difficult situations. Choosing the right words in those situations is crucial. A poor choice of words can doom the chances of successful communication taking place.
If you’re hoping to communicate in highly emotional or stressful situations consider these ideas.
- In difficult circumstances, emotions can run high, and it’s easy to get carried away and say things that are unclear or misunderstood. Choosing the right words can ensure that your message is communicated clearly. You limit the risk of misunderstandings or confusion.
- Difficult circumstances often involve sensitive or emotional issues. Choosing the right words can demonstrate empathy and compassion towards the other person. It shows that you understand their perspective and are taking their feelings into account.
- The right words can also convey respect for the other person, even in difficult situations. Using polite and respectful language, even when discussing a challenging issue, shows that you value the other person. It shows that you respect their opinions and will consider them.
- Using the right words builds or maintains positive relationships. This is true even in the face of difficult circumstances. It can prevent the situation from escalating into an argument or confrontation. It is more likely to create a productive dialogue focused on finding a resolution.
Choosing the right words in difficult circumstances can help you navigate challenging situations with less stress and more success. It can lead to clearer communication, increased empathy and respect, and stronger relationships.
Effective communication is a skill. By definition a skill can be improved with time and conscious effort. So YOU can improve your communication skills if you choose to. The only questions is…will you. Well…will you?
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2 thoughts on “Choosing Your Words Wisely”
This is extraordinarily important for an effective leader to learn and master. The best leaders choose every single word carefully, and understand the importance of the timing, the cadence, and the volume of their words. One poorly delivered message can permanently disengage a member of their team–or the whole team!
Having said all of that, the longer a leader remains in a position–the more likely that s/he will say or do something to really annoy every single person on their team. We are responsible for our words, and should take care as to what we say, but we cannot be paralyzed by the fear of how our words will be received. We should seek to recruit and retain team members who are well adjusted and resilient adults, and who understand that their leaders are imperfect humans.
I have a theory when speaking in front of groups of 250 or more…there is no way to talk for 30 seconds without offending someone in that audience. While choosing our words well is vital you are absolutely correct that sooner or later we will say the wrong thing or something we say will be misinterpreted. What we say next, after we have been misinterpreted or misunderstood that will determine whether or not we have a chance for successful communication. But I for one will not “walk on eggshells” so as to not offend anyone, sometimes people just need to realize that other people can choose the wrong words without meaning to be offensive.