Recently I introduced a slide to my communication presentation called, ‘The Wall of Fatal Words.’ I was pleasantly surprised by its popularity. The initial response is laughter because the words and phrases are so familiar. What are the fatal words on the wall? These are words and phrases that halt dialogue. These are words and phrases that come trippingly off the tongue without thought to their negative impact. These are words and phrases that are reactive versus productive. Why do we use them? Because we do not take the time to process what we say. We think them harmless. These words pack a punch – and not in a good way! If you want to be an open and honest communicator then consider the implications of the words you choose.
Listen carefully the next time you engage in a conversation or participate in collaborative meetings. You may be astonished to hear the frequent use of these or similar words and phrases. Pause before you speak. Reframe your thoughts from negative to positive language.
Words spoken in haste can cause long-term damage.