The texture of words

Chilean Fox Terrier
What is that magic air mover?
Words carry more than information. The words you choose change the texture, the flavor of the information. They change the way readers view the world.

For instance, my public speaking students frequently choose “Legalization of Marijuana” as a topic. (The fact that they have been choosing this topic for over 30 years says something about our nation, but that’s for another article.) The audience of college students has probably heard this discussed dozens of times in various settings. So I suggest instead they discuss “Relegalization of Marijuana.” That often makes audiences cock their heads, the way a dog looks at a ceiling fan. That recasting of the topic can completely change the way the speaker approaches the topic and the way the audience hears it. Continue reading “The texture of words”

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End of your rope?

End of rope

This is not a post about religion, but it is a post inspired by religion, I suppose. Continue reading “End of your rope?”

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Little differences in words make big differences

lightning

Mark Twain once said in a letter to George Bainton, in 1888, “The difference between the almost right word & the right word is really a large matter–it’s the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.”

As we’ve said here numerous times, it’s not what happens to you but what you think about what happens to you that determines your experience. The different flavors of words shapes the way we think about our world, and therefore shapes our experience.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the difference between being humbled and being humiliated. Continue reading “Little differences in words make big differences”

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Words matter: it is, indeed, a very holiday

happy_everything2

It has become popular in certain circles to characterize wishing someone “Happy Holidays” as denying Christmas, as if anyone who says anything other than “Merry Christmas” intends to denigrate Christianity. Continue reading “Words matter: it is, indeed, a very holiday”

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Get past the Mehrabian myth

If you have studied communication much at all, I’ll bet you’ve been exposed to a common set of figures: only 7 percent of the meaning that comes from an interaction comes from the words exchanged. 38 percent comes from the voice, and 55 percent from the body language. You should have a source for information like that, of course, and there has always been a good one: Dr. Albert Mehrabian.

I even cited those figures in a textbook I co-authored, since the figures appeared in the textbook I used as a student way back when Aristotle was in knee pants. They’re great figures that help speakers make a point about delivery.

Except they’re wrong.

Continue reading “Get past the Mehrabian myth”

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