Words have the power to heal, the power to motivate and uplift and words have the power to influence and change.  Though we all know this to be true, most of us think of great speeches of history, moving monologues in movies or rousing oratory as something that others who are far more skilled with words have written.  We allow ourselves to be moved and shaped by the words of others, yet do not often consider that the words we off-handedly use can be equally as powerful. 

In this candid conversation between Ovation Communication Experts Jan Bailey and Shona Welsh discuss something we don’t often consider, the power of everyday language.  When we are consciously trying to shape our children, influence our spouse or persuade our boss, we tend to craft our speech carefully – or at the very least, consider what we plan to say in advance.  However, how often do we say things that we don’t even bother to consider?  How often do we repeat things we hear before thinking of the impact? 

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The power of language on expectations

We all live ‘up to’ or ‘down to’ expectations and those expectations often originate with words spoken at precisely the right (or wrong) time.  A carefully chosen word planted as a seed at just the right time can have powerful emotional, physical and mental impact.  Don’t believe words can have physical impact?  Play along with the exercise Jan does at the opening of the video and then decide.

In this time of unusual strain on relationships of all kinds, clear communication is essential as we try to support ourselves and each other, envision how we might move through this pandemic and prepare for how things might look on the other side.  What this means is we must understand that words have power, expectation and emotion attached to them and although a word might have a commonly held definition, there is no way to judge the meaning that word has for every individual.  

When you are speaking, consider your language and choose kind, every time.  When you are listening, try to hear the thoughtful intention behind the message as a whole and resist the temptation to get caught in the judgment of specific words.

Sandbox has partnered with Ovation to present a series of videos which offer thought provoking conversation, a little laughter and some concrete tools to help you shift your perspective about how and why you communicate the way you do. In a time when physical distancing is a reality, it is more important than ever to feel as though you are able to clearly express your thoughts, fears and hopes. We all know that with face to face communication it is easy to be misunderstood – in times of heightened personal and professional strain and only virtual communication to keep many of us connected, occasional miscommunication is almost a given. Take this opportunity to join Ovation and their special guest, counselling therapist Kimberly Schaschl as they unravel some of the mysteries of effective communication.

About the contributorS:

In their highly interactive workshops, OVATION speaker trainers have helped countless individuals transform their ability to connect to their audience and deliver authentic and meaningful messages with impact. Now, more than ever, communication with some oomph is an essential skill. At a time when our emotions swing from overwhelmed to irrational, our ability to communicate effectively follows suit and it can be hard to remove the anger, frustration or even fear from our voice, let alone from our message … and that can have all manner of consequences.

Shona Welsh, BA, MCEd, CHRL, CCC is a communication and speaking expert who has won numerous speaking, writing and learning design awards. The author of several books and designer/facilitator of hundreds of international workshops in speaking and communications, she has held international senior executive positions over three decades. She teaches extensively about leadership, communications, and innovation with numerous universities and colleges.

Jan Bailey BA, MAEd is a communication and speaking expert who has designed and delivered hundreds of workshops internationally on public speaking, stage presence, on-camera presentations, and communication. Along with writing and producing a ten-part career development series of books, Jan’s 27-year career has involved extensive on-camera experience as a television host along with being a long-time professor of communications.

Kimberly Schaschl BA BEd M.Ed Psych is a counselling therapist who has worked in the field of mental health and education for over 30 years. She has a wealth of experience assisting clients from school age to adulthood on a wide range of mental health and life management issues. She is a registered member of the College of Licensed Counselling Therapists of New Brunswick.

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