In today's world of 24 hour news, social media platforms galore and messaging apps aplenty, do words matter anymore?
Claire Best thinks so.
"But words are things, and a small drop of ink,
Falling like dew, upon a thought, produces
That which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think.” (Lord Byron)
Working in PR, words make up our daily lives. They are our bread and butter. We take a whole bunch of them, put them together and create a story to try and evoke some emotion from the reader. Well, there’s a bit more to it than that, but that’s it on a very basic level.
Most of us speak and write on a daily basis in some capacity, probably without giving it much thought. However, working in PR forces you to really think about the words you use, the words you write, and that we should think before we speak and write because words are important. They are the superstars of our toolkit and without them, we’d be out of a job!
The ‘right’ words can mean the difference between being misunderstood or being clear in your communications. Well-timed words can mean the difference between being hopeful and supportive or judgmental and condescending.
Who else was told as a child, just ignore mean words?
“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me!” was a common one in our house. Growing up, I’ve realised this isn’t always necessarily true.
Japanese scientist Dr. Masaru Emoto became famous for his experiments in the 1990s with water molecules and the effect that words have on bottled water.
Sounds a little out there I know…but stick with me here.
When frozen, water that’s free from all impurities will form beautiful ice crystals that look exactly like snowflakes under a microscope. Water that’s polluted, or has additives like fluoride, will freeze without forming crystals. In his experiments, Emoto poured pure water into vials labeled with negative phrases like “I hate you” or “fear.” After 24 hours, the water was frozen, and no longer crystallised under the microscope: it yielded grey, misshapen clumps instead of beautiful, lace-like crystals. In contrast, Emoto placed labels that said things like “I Love You,” or “Peace” on vials of water, and after 24 hours, they produced gleaming, perfectly hexagonal crystals.
If words can do this to water, imagine what they can do to us. Consider the fact that your body is over 70% water and you’ll understand how quickly the vibration from negative words resonates in your cells. Lesson in short: words matter.
So next time you speak or put pen to paper, ask yourself this - what do your words say about you? Your brand? Your business? Your ethos? Do you encourage others with what you write/say? What words do you give to yourself?
Words are important.