The way we talk and the words we use have both positive and negative consequences on the people we interact with on a daily basis.
It’s therefore important that we remain mindful of our speech and choose our words carefully whenever possible.
Different people can speak the same exact message, but depending on how they frame it and how they present it can make all the difference in how the listener responds to you.
Whenever communicating with someone else, the most important thing is to speak using their terms and from their perspective.
It’s important to pay attention to who you are talking to and in what context.
You wouldn’t speak to a child with the same vocabulary as you would an adult. And you wouldn’t speak to someone who is a beginner in a subject in the same way you would speak to someone who is an expert.
Just as important as the individual is the social setting. You probably wouldn’t talk to a stranger at the library in the same way you would talk to a stranger at a bar or concert.
All of these factor into effective communication, and we need to take them into account if we want ourselves to be heard as clearly as possible.
At the same time, perhaps some people will ignore us no matter what we say or how we say it. In Why We Ignore Advice When We Need It The Most, I lay out explicit reasons people avoid information that contradicts their worldview.
However, if I say something and it doesn’t seem to have an effect on a person, I like to think that somewhere deep down I made an incremental difference. Maybe the next time they hear the idea, they aren’t as resistant to it. Then over time they become more accepting of it.
Every word has consequences, however small or large. That means our speech can be powerful, even if we aren’t always aware of its effects directly.
The best thing we can do is try to be more aware of how we communicate on a daily basis. Keep in mind that what you say adds up and has a real influence on individuals and society as a whole.
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