I am a self-confessed word fan. I may not be a Susie Dent or Gyles Brandreth, but I do love them with a passion. It makes my day if I discover a new word and its meaning, or if I am reacquainted with a forgotten word or phrase. Oh, and I love a pun or clever bit of wordplay.
A dear friend of mine introduced me to the word ‘apricity’ recently. It means ‘the warmth of the summer sun in winter.’ I could imagine perfectly that uplifting feeling of unexpected warmth immediately, but I had no idea that it had a specific word to describe the sensation. The discovery of ‘apricity’ had such an impact on my friend that she had the word tattooed on her arm!
The power of words
You see, words are powerful. Words conjure up specific images. They make lasting impressions. Yes, they impart information but they do so in very particular ways depending on the words that are used. The same words said in different ways, with different tones, can be received in very different ways. So it is incredibly important to think about the words that you use and how they may be received.
Good words are worth much, and cost little.George Herbert
Which words work best for you?
Which words would you like to be associated with you or your brand? For most, it would be positive words. Do you want to be seen as powerful, knowledgeable, experienced and trustworthy? Maybe you want to be youthful, edgy, cheeky and fun. The words you use will make all the difference to your brand. They will connect better with certain people and create a very particular impression of what your business is all about.
The posts you publish to social media, the content you host on your website, the responses you write to emails – they all portray your business in a certain way. So choose your words wisely, every time.
“Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.”Mother Teresa
Choose your words to suit your brand
Being strategic about your choice of words doesn’t mean that you have to play it safe. If your brand is bold and sassy, then your words need to amplify that personality and bring it to life. Be cheeky, poke fun and use relaxed, everyday language if that’s the style that suits.
Even corporate companies can play with words. They don’t have to conform to the traditional, staid, stiff upper lip style. A simpler, more conversational way of talking may connect better with more people and convey the message more effectively. This takes consideration and planning to be done well.
Choose your words with care
Whilst I consider myself well-equipped with words and the knowledge that they can be received in different ways, there are times when it can be incredibly tricky to know what to say. The recent #BlackLivesMatter events have been powerful. It was incredible to see so many posts showing solidarity on #BlackoutTuesday and it initiated some important conversations both at the kitchen table and in the wider world. However, some brands have been chastised for not making a statement and others for saying the wrong thing. The words that you choose to use need careful consideration, built on knowledge and awareness. And sometimes, it is powerful to show that you are listening and learning before speaking out – especially if it is not your area of expertise.
“All I need is a sheet of paper and something to write with, and then I can turn the world upside down.”Friedrich Nietzsche
Words are powerful – they can unite or divide, delight or insult people. It’s so important to be aware of the words that you use and how they may be received.