Words are powerful.
What we say and how we say it directly impacts the energy of others. That’s why it’s important to use our words consciously, not carelessly. Especially if you have a leadership presence of any kind because your words will impact far more people than a casual conversation with friends.
I want to encourage you to become a more conscious communicator. And it all starts with one seemingly simple challenge.
The 24-hour challenge
It’s time to go on a fast! A word fast that is. For the next 24 hours, I challenge you to not write or say anything without first examining it through Socrates’ three lenses of compassion:
1. Is it true?
2. Is it necessary?
3. Is it kind?
If you’re anything like me, you’ll probably forget to do this within minutes of clicking away from this article. So, I recommend you either tell a loved one your intention or send the link to this article to a friend and challenge them to join you.
Have some fun with it and check in with each other about how challenging or easy it actually was! You might be surprised.
Deliver your words with love
It sounds simple, but this exercise can impact the people in your life beyond ways you can ever imagine. As author, Mimi Novac writes, “We never really know what we give to someone else. Sometimes a few simple words may change someone’s life in a single moment.”
When we communicate, the way our words are received depends on the unique reality of the other person. This miscommunication is at the root of many conflicts and misunderstandings. One person says one thing, and the other person hears something totally different!
It is not enough to say whatever you want to say and simply expect the other person to just “deal with it.” We must take some personal responsibility for the way our words are delivered. If you really want to make an impact, you must first enquire within yourself, “how can I communicate this in a conscious and respectful way?”
While we have no control over how our words will be received, we do have control over how we deliver them. The best way to lead or create change is to speak truthfully, with compassion.
Words have the power to divide nations and destroy relationships. They can hurt or they can heal. What camp do you want to be in?
Personally, I think society is hurting enough.
Harness the power of words in business and marketing
As someone who likes to write from the soul, for the most part, I’ve felt the need to remove myself from social media and commercial television. I’ve also shifted the focus of my business away from treating people as consumers rather than people. I’ve let important clients go because their marketing strategy no longer aligned with my values.
So, how can you lead with impact and show the value of your business without the hard sell?
Start by stepping into your audience’s shoes. Most people don’t enjoy being spoken to like consumers or commodities. Your audience might be used to it, but that doesn’t make it okay. People want to be seen, valued, and heard. As a human race, we long to connect. We love to feel engaged, inspired and moved.
Observe your own energy as you scroll social media and see the various sponsored posts. What resonates with you and what doesn’t. Or, to put it another way, what moves you and what drains you?
This is your own internal compass. It whispers to you and guides your communication style. Make a note of what aligns with you (you might even take a screenshot) and keep it for future reference when you create your own marketing.
Reflect on your relationships
Use this opportunity to consider how you feel in your personal relationships. Are you spending time with people who raise your energy or deplete it? What is their communication style? How do you talk about things in their company? How do you communicate with your loved ones?
Only when we are conscious of the words we choose, can we refine them. You can decide how you want to be seen and thought of. You can directly affect the way people respond to you, and the way you respond to yourself.
Is it true?
Is it necessary?
Is it kind?
These filters help us to become more loving, more esteeming, and more centred — rather than self-centred.
Just imagine if social media had these filters on their posts. Online bullying would be wiped out in an instant. Of course, it’s not likely to happen… it goes against the rights of free speech. But that’s why we, as adults, need to take responsibility for the words we choose. We need to role model a different way of being in this world. And it can all start with these next 24-hours.
Be mindful of your words and you’ll change your world
Imagine a whole day focused on being mindful of your words; conscious of your communication.
And instead of getting caught up in the world’s problems, stress at work, or your children’s crammed schedules, you could bring your attention back to this very moment and each word you’re saying.
Are they true?
Are they necessary?
Are they kind?
As a business owner, and as a human being, I personally do not want to put anything out into the world unless it passes through these gateways. They become a practice for how we can live our lives, how we raise our children and lead our teams.
Whether in the boardroom, on social media, in your intimate relationships, or even just while you’re getting the children ready for school, I invite you to apply these filters throughout your day and observe how things unfold.
You see, when you use your own energy as a compass, you begin to take more responsibility for how your behaviour can impact others, and yourself. And while you might not be able to change the world, you can change your world and invite in more harmonious relationships, deeper conversations, and more meaningful experiences.
This is my wish for you.
Follow me on Medium: @jenniferfaulkner