Ten years ago, I made my first trip to Europe to live and study in Spain. My Spanish brother (he stayed with my family in the US for a year in high school) was showing me around one day, and he asked, “Why do you always look so mad? Maybe you should smile more and people would receive you better.” His actual words were not as polished, as he was a decade out from living in America, but his point was well-received.
Not only is our nonverbal communication powerful, but so is our verbal communication. I used to just speak before actually considering how my words would be taken by the receiver of my message. “He’s annoying.” “I HATE that.” Short quips that I knew I didn’t necessarily mean, but I said them anyway. In my eyes, everyone KNEW I was speaking figuratively. Everyone KNEW my exact thoughts and rationale.
Each one of us acts and performs according to our unique views and experiences. No one has the exact same perspective because we all have different life situations. And how we speak directly effects those around us.
“The Magic of Thinking Big” paints a great picture (the EXACT objective) when it states, “We do not think in words and phrases. We think only in pictures and/or images. Words are the raw materials of thought. When spoken or read, that amazing instrument, the mind, automatically converts words and phrases into mind pictures.”
What the author is saying is that the words we use create pictures in the minds of the people to whom we are speaking. You’re creating ideas, attitudes, literal pictures, in the minds of the people who hear your message. What kinds of pictures are you creating?
“He’s annoying.” “I HATE that.” Thinking back, I was painting an image with a dark background and gloomy feel. NOT my objective in life. I try my best to speak powerfully and effectively to create the coolest, brightest, most animated picture I can possibly create in the minds of those around me.
Before you speak, think about what kind of picture you want to create in the minds of those around you. Challenge yourself to be a “wordsmith,” an artist of verbal communication.
Oh, and enjoy these last few days of 2015. There’s no reason to wait until January 1 to start your resolution!