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Using the right words to get the right outcomes.

It ain’t what you say it’s the way that you say it,
It ain’t what you say it’s the way that you say it,
It ain’t what you say it’s the way that you say it,
And that’s what gets results.
(Please sing these words to the tune of Bananarama in the clip below)

Thank you for your indulgence.
For some time now I have been interested in words and how they sound and impact on me. When a word seems wrong in a statement or sentence I find myself wondering what message is really being expressed there. I wonder whether the messenger means to have that impact on me, and whether they are unaware of the impact certain words can have on their reader.
Some examples.
You should try to make people read your blog if you want them to understand.

There are several words in the above statement that I have issues with.
1. Telling someone what they should do can be a stopper for some people, they see should and they hear a school teacher or parent telling them what to do. Just changing should to could, could soften your message and allow the reader to decide to follow your advice rather than be compelled to.
2. My next problem with the above statement is the word try. When I read or hear the word try, I understand that the person is going to try to do something, which doesn’t necessarily mean they will do something. We can expend a lot of effort trying and getting nowhere. Taking try out of the statement helps me believe there is a good chance something will be achieved.
3. The final word in the above statement I have feelings about is make, since we cannot make others do anything (unless we hold a gun to their head).
Let me re write the statement another way, see what you think.
You could encourage people to read your blog to help them understand.
What do you think? Does that read/sound better?

a. I like it when you help me do these things but I wish you’d wait for me to ask.
b. I like it when you help me do these things and I wish you’d wait for me to ask.

Which of the above sentences do you prefer? I know which one I like but I won’t say.

a.If you follow my advice you will achieve success and people will understand your message.
b. If you follow my advice you might achieve success and people may understand your message.

Can you see how differently those two read? It’s only words and yet they make a big difference to the message. If you leave out the shoulds, oughts and musts as a starting point, you might (not will but might) find that your messages are hitting the right spot.

Now, back to the song, all together now…………


About kathythesane

Content to be Lefty, Libtard, Snowflake, TreeHugger, DoGooder, kind, generous and sane. This Atheist will say potent prayers for you Trumpettes.

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