Thursday, May 19, 2011

How you say it

It really isn't what you say, but how you say it. Impact comes from voice inflection, decibel level, and wording. These are lessons that apply to all aspects of life.

How many times when my kids were little, did I say, "How many times have I told you to pick up these toys?" Ha! They couldn't even count that high. How much more effective it would have been to say, "Toys in toybox."

How often did I shout to get my point across to family members who refused to hear what I had to say? My voice and blood pressure rose in tandem. I've since learned that with children, whispering is more effective, and stating it, not debating it is the real answer to every issue. Speaking in a friendly soft voice with a friendly face confuses the opponent. When people/kids can read you too well, you are too predictable, they know what you're going to say and how you'll react before you do.

How did I ever expect cooperation when all I did was point out what the kids were doing wrong, instead of telling them what TO DO right? Instead of, "You are shouting/running/making a mess again," I could have said, "Talk softer, walk your feet, toss your scraps."

How come I feel the need to expound? Brevity works with people of all ages and most children process only the last four words of a sentence anyway. "Don't you dare jump on your bed!" So much more impact to say, "Jump on the floor." Instead of, "No running in the house or jumping on the bed, you might break something or get hurt." blah-blah-blah

Ever go to an open mic reading? Poetry is concise and makes my ears tune in. Listening to lengthy prose makes my mind wander and tune out. It is the same way when you or someone else drones on and on in conversation. The condensed version may be more effective.

Someone sent me a video that illustrates how what you say is important. Creative writing/speaking can be applied to all aspects of your life.

A blind man sits on a corner with a tin can and sign that states, I AM BLIND.
People rush past and a few people drop a coin every now and then. A woman walks by, turns his cardboard over and writes a new message which gives new meaning to his condition and gets desired results. People start tossing him coins and soon his can fills. The sign reads, TODAY IS BEAUTIFUL, BUT I CAN'T SEE IT.

No matter how rushed or aggravated you feel, SEE the beauty in the day, create your own success however small, put a positive spin on what you say to yourself and others. Blessings.


Unknown said...

There has been too many times I have said something the wrong way that I wish I could get back

Dorothy Evans said...

Great post! (now a follower x)

Southhamsdarling said...

That was a good post, Linda. I loved the bit about the blind man. You're right though, we should think carefully before we speak. With two young grandchildren, I am taking all this on board!!

Bookie said...

Oh, I have worked all week putting postive spin on things, Linda! Whew, it's work sometimes...but your advice is good and sound!

Sioux Roslawski said...

The story about the blind man was marvelous.

Yes, my mind wanders when people read prose as well. My eyes probably glaze over. Poetry is so condensed, you do have to pay attention to every line and every bit of white space.

Tammy said...

Today IS beautiful and so is this post. Reminds me of a wonderful quote that I saw on the wall of a journalism class:

“Make me see.” ~Henry Belk, blind newspaper editor

Pat Wahler said...

Brevity is better.