There is power in communication. The story you tell is one with the words you use. Using the right words, strong words, powerful words, will make you the woman you strive to be.
The story here is from several years ago, as I was preparing to speak at one of my local women’s networking groups. I belonged to two, at the time, and each one inspired me in different ways.
The group I was speaking at, back then, was a small group, between 10 -15 at any given meeting, led by a smart, talented woman with great insight into the spirit of being an entrepreneur. It was a growing group of women who were serious about what they do and who recognized the value of that kind of support group. These smart, talented women are exactly the kind of women I want write a book. I bet they are just like you.
At that meeting my presentation was set for ten minutes. While that seems like a short amount of time to tell a good story, and make no bones about it, everything we do is telling a story, I was happy for the limited time frame. It requires focus and purpose; one needs to prepare the essence of the talk and make the story compelling without a great deal of narration. Not so much "just the facts, ma'am" as making the story a narrative, not a report.
As I worked on my talk, I considered the stories of so many other women I’ve known. Some whom I have had the pleasure of working with and some that I have not. My goal in that ten minutes was to energize my colleagues. I didn't tell complicated stories of how this woman or that woman succeeded in her business by writing a book. I didn't share my story about writing a book and how it helped me move my business forward. I didn't dig into the great narrations of poets and writers whose works have endured through the ages.
I merely talked about words.
As some astute readers may discern, stories are made up of words. In present day U.S. (and all over the world, I dare say – at least, wherever there is ink and paper), some stories include pictures, cartoons, colors and images that purport to be worth 1000 words. I did not cover those, in my presentation. I am focused entirely on words - because even when we see an image we like or don't like, we think about it in words. "Oh this is horrible!" we might think, or say out lout. "Oh this is beautiful!" we might share or think silently. But, we do think it and the thought is in words.
Words, in my experience, are as mighty as any hurricane. As enormous as any mountain. As important as any religious tome. Words live, breathe, and grow roots in our minds, in our hearts, and in our souls. It is in homage to words that I continue to pursue my craft – as a developmental book coach.
At the moment we are living in a world full of strife. Strife from hurricanes, political unrest, and ignorance. I would say our moment in time is similar to other moments, but let’s all admit, Charles Dickens said it better than I ever could;
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”
I love this sentence. It’s a favorite and I quote it often. The message is so clear it’s like a hammer slammed into your face. The words and phrases – epoch of incredulity; winter of despair; noisiest authorities; superlative degree of comparison – put us on our toes, and set us up for a bumpy ride, indeed.
I know life is full of strife. That never changes. It’s a necessary part of every tale we tell. Without the strife, without the story that is the story, that embodies the words one the page – creating a moral, of course – there would be no humanity. We would be animals still walking about on four legs, not two. Stories, words, paragraphs, create our ancestry. Without words we have no history and no future to give to our children.
It is precisely because of this that I wallow in words on a daily basis. It is why my presentation that day focused on the magic women bring to the work they do every day, but how they don't know how to talk about that magic. I talked about the power of the words they use to describe their services, their elevator pitch, themselves – I asked if the words they were using were truly sharing the magic of who they were, who they are, who they present themselves as, to prospective clients?
It would be a great horror if we were all were stuck using poor, stale, overdone words. The kinds of words often found in marketing-speak, or bandied about at higher institutes of learning; words often used to convey betterment. Whatever that might mean to the person using them.
Instead of ordinary words, instead of marketing speak, instead of dull stories about "I did this and then this happened" I recommended that day and I recommend it now, that we embrace fantastic words - power words - words that strike at the hearts of everyone we meet. Because those words will create the enduring message of who you are.
Abundance * Boldness * Brilliance * Cherished * Daring * Exquisite * Fabulous * Fantastic * Grateful * Inspiring * Magic/Magical * Optimistic * Passionate * Sacred * Sincere * Thankful * Dazzling * Scintillating * Wayward * Determined * Stubborn * Significant * Courageous * Brassy
Which words do you use in your writing? Which words tell your story? Which words make you sit up and take notice? Which words will go on the title of your best selling book, when you and I write it together? You as "the author of" and me as your developmental editor.
I'm ready when you are. Let's make some magic.