Ever since childhood I have been an avid reader and been fascinated by words. From the creative delights of Land of the Faraway Tree to the complexity of The Hobbit I loved losing myself in a narrative.

I also remember being delighted with a movie called The Glass Slipper which presented a new twist on the classic Cinderella. In particular the character of the fairy godmother had a great impact and was what I connected with most. During one scene the fairy godmother lists her favourite words ‘apple dumpling,’ ‘windowsill,’ ‘pickle relish’ and ‘elbow’. As a child this movie taught me not to just take words at face value but to listen with delight at the sound, pitch, tone and the intention behind those words.

Later in life, after reading my first copy of Think and Grow Rich, I began an even deeper appreciation and delving into the power of words. It showed me that when words are read not just as a collection of symbols or characters, but as thoughts, emotions, or sentiments, that they can help, inspire, encourage, motivate and move us. In just the same way words can also move people, teams, communities and countries.

Think for a moment about a handwritten note you’ve received, perhaps it included words of love, of friendship, or an apology. Remember how you felt reading the words and feeling the sentiment behind them.

As leaders in your life and organisations you must understand the power of your words if you truly wish to be successful. An effective leader must be a competent story teller and one who can use their oral and written communication skills to create vivid narratives, to engage people in their vision and to paint the picture of what success looks like in order to create a team that puts their strengths to work. As they saying goes “The bigger the dream, the more important the team.”

Too often with the ease of email and texting our words become hollow, meaningless and transactional only. To fall into this trap is forgetting that the importance of words comes in the form of a shared language and shared meaning. To become an exceptional leader you must be aware of the power of story and metaphor to convey your ideas and steer the change process. “Effective leaders…create communities out of words.” Warren Bennis.

Take for example one of the greatest speeches of our modern time, one that inspired and motivated people – delivered by Martin Luther King. He didn’t just have a dream, he described that dream in words, clever words, descriptive words, stories and metaphors that were so powerful they catalysed a social movement.

A leader can have a powerful vision for positive change but if it is not well communicated and people can’t ‘see’ it, they may find it has little impact.

What words are you using in your life, business and career, what do they reflect about who you are and where you are going?

Coach, author, speaker, teacher and entrepreneur, Heidi Alexandra Pollard, The Communicators’ Coach publishes Value Ad, a free monthly ezine for smart, savvy professionals who want more prosperity, passion and purpose in life. If you’re ready to jump start your success, make more money and have more fun doing it then get your FREE tips now at http://www.leadingvalue.net
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