In goal setting we learn that thoughts trigger emotion which then triggers behavior. So if you want to change your behavior you need to start with the thought (words) you attach to it. That sounds clear enough until we begin to examine the complexity behind the words we choose to use. They originate from our background and experiences and can either help or hinder our progress forward. How often do we really listen to the choice of words we use or stop to observe their impact. Does it sound like that would take too much time that you don’t have? If so, you might want to think again. When organizations were surveyed regarding prospective employees the item of greatest importance to them was communication skills. Further, in countless surveys on the topic of happiness people responded that the most important thing in a relationship was, once again, the ability to communicate. So whether we are talking about work, family or friends the most important thing we can bring to the setting is solid communication skills.
Sometimes we are so busy speaking that we forget to pause and ‘check for understanding’ to be sure the words we chose are fully understood by others. Sound silly? Actually it’s not. If you ask 5 people to tell you what any word mean such as comfortable, happiness or improvement you would get 5 different definitions. Why? Remember … the understanding we bring to the words we use are defined by our background and emotional experiences and are as unique to us as our fingerprints. It is up to the speaker to verify they are understood. Few listeners have the confidence to say they do not understand so they just continue looking as if they are listening while they are repeating over and over in their mind what was said that they did not understand. That makes refining our communication skills even more important as we strive for a life of greater happiness and success.
Choosing the right words invites others in or creates barriers to understanding. Think of the words that are a natural part of your vocabulary. Are they energy affirming or energy depleting. Check the faces of those you are talking to … are they engaged in what you are saying? Do they ask clarifying questions to be sure they get your meaning or intention behind the words? If not maybe it’s time to reevaluate the word choices you are using.
There is a computer term, GIGO. It simply means garbage in – garbage out. When we think about a computer being neutral it makes sense. It responds to what is fed into it. Likewise, the Universe can be looked upon as neutral for this purpose. Words are a form of energy (negative or positive) and when sent out into the Universe the same type of energy is sent back to us. Without realizing it we can be drawing negative energy to us simply from the word choices we habitual use.
To Improve our communication skills we must start by recognizing the difference between word choices. Let’s look at a few examples: PROBLEM or OPPORTUNITY – HAVE TO or CHOOSE TO – DEMAND or REQUEST – UNACCEPTABLE or NEEDS IMPROVEMENT. In each pairing did you notice or feel an energy difference between the two words? The first was demeaning or defeating – basically negative energy in action and the second word word choice offers hope, expectation and belief and resonates positive energy. Are your word choices helping or restricting you?
Developing the habit of the mindful use of words can transform your communication skills from ordinary to extraordinary. In business and family life you will see a change in the way people listen …really listen to you. They will want to follow you, support your efforts and make you proud of what they can contribute because you were able to get their attention through the use of your positive word choices.
As Buddha said, “We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think.”
Life is a challenge for all of us. When we find something that makes the journey a bit easier it is important to pass the idea on to others. Try giving your word choices greater attention in the future. Your thoughts, words and actions will benefit. It will make you and others feel a whole lot better!
Have a great few days!