Pulse January / February 2018 - Page 44

Your environment shapes you. Words are a significant part of your environment. If you want positive change in your work and life, watch the words around you. words matter! The Words Matter Movement involves being a practitioner of careful, thoughtful and deliberate positive communication. It is so easy to speak without thinking; to not genuinely listen and connect with people. When words are used in the wrong way it can be devastating. Words are a container of power. Words motivate or deflate thoughts, hopes, dreams and actions. Words have the power to excite, inspire, sadden, frighten, anger or give hope during times of change. Language is behavior. What you say matters. It shapes your environment, your work and your life. I am particularly aware of the power of words because my father would refuse to hear negative words. When I was a child he would say, “I can’t hear you” when I would whine or complain about something. So, the first time he said it, I naturally said the same screeching whine only louder. It wasn’t until he said, “I can’t hear you, I only can hear positive words” that I realized if I was going to get what I wanted, I had to say it in a more positive way. Unbeknownst to me at the time, he was treating the way he communicated with me like a behav- ioral science experiment. My dad, having an extensive psychology background, was practicing the B.F. Skinner 4. 42 PULSE ■ January/February 2018 approach to behavioral psychology in shaping my communi- cation style. The good news is that it worked! It conditioned me to look for the positive and speak from a more positive thought process. When I spoke about this wordplay in a keynote presentation on change and the important role of effective communication (conTInUED on PAGE 44)