What a difference a word makes

I was listening to a politician talking and noticed her use of the word “reform” and that got me thinking.  They always talk about reform, which suggests that they are making things better for us, but I suspect that if you asked most voters they would say they either saw no change or no change for the better.  Politicians are always tinkering with the system, but I wonder if they ever make things better.  They use the word “reform” rather than change, because most people feel frighten or at least adverse to change, but surely everyone is for reform?  Their actions don’t change but wrapping them up with a more appealing label is meant to make them okay…

As business leaders get more media savvy, they too tend to shift their language to disguise the content of what they are suggesting.  The thing is people are only fool for a little while and they quickly translate words like right-sizing to redundancies.  People may not like what you have to tell them but they will respect you more if you tell it like it is.  In my experience, they usually know what is going on despite all management efforts to keep things confidential, so maybe next time you plan to communicate with your troops you might like to do it this way:-

  1. Decide what the purpose of this communication is
  2. Know what you want them to do & feel
  3. Understand where they are coming from
  4. Keep you messages short and simple
  5. Give them a real opportunity to ask questions and respond

It makes all the difference.  I did this with a client company the other day and you could see how pleased they were that a proper opportunity was being made to communicate with them.

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