Monday, May 23, 2011

The Power Of Words

Ever since childhood I have been an avid reader and been fascinated by words. From the creative delights of the Land of the Faraway Tree to the complexity of The Hobbit, I loved losing myself in a narrative.

Later in life, after reading my first copy of Think and Grow Rich, I began an even deeper appreciation and delving into the power of words. When words are read as not just a collection of symbols or characters, but as thoughts, emotions or sentiments, the real power of words can help, inspire, encourage, motivate and move us. In just the same way words can also move people, teams, communities and countries.

Think for a moment about a handwritten note you've received, perhaps it included words of love, of friendship, or an apology. Remember how you felt reading the words and feeling the sentiment behind them.

The importance of words comes in the form of a shared language and shared meaning. To become an exceptional leader you must be aware of the power of story and metaphor to convey your ideas and steer the change process. "Effective leaders...create communities out of words." Warren Bennis.

Take for example one of the greatest speeches of our modern time, one that inspired and motivated people - delivered by Martin Luther King. He didn't just have a dream, he described that dream in words, clever words, descriptive words, stories and metaphors that were so powerful they catalysed a social movement.

What words are you using in your life, business and career, what do they reflect about who you are and where you are going?