Four weeks ago yesterday, my uncle passed away. I’m not going to get into a lot of details, because I think some things are better left personal.
But, I want to talk about just one piece of my experience: my cousin’s eulogy. She wrote a wonderful eulogy to her Dad which she then delivered to probably more than 1,000 friends and family.
You see, my uncle was a pastor at a large church for years and years. He ran a youth camp for years. He traveled all over the globe with church groups. So, he knew A TON of people. He was a mentor and leader to many.
But, he was a Dad to two people. And that was his most important role.
And that’s what my cousin talked about in her eulogy.
As you can imagine, there weren’t many dry eyes in the church as she delivered her speech. And sure, some of that had to do with the fact that it was a funeral and someone had passed away that we loved.
But a lot of it also had to do with the words she chose and how she strung them together.
Her words mattered.
In the overall online media landscape we live in these days, we hear so much about the power of visuals. And yeah, visuals are a powerful thing. And yeah, you do need to think about visuals as you craft online content. No question.
But man, words used well are still a very powerful force.
Think about your company’s corporate communications for a moment. Speaking from experience, many employee memos can come off stiff and extremely “corporate.”
And then consider Markus Persson’s memo last fall announcing that he was leaving Mojang, the company that created Minecraft (which was sold to Microsoft).
Now, I know this isn’t exactly a “corporate memo”, but it my as well be considering the context and subject matter. And yeah, I know, it’s the tech industry. But, I’m trying to make a point here!
Look at his memo. Notice the WORDS Markus chose. Notice the language he uses. Notice the story he tells.
You understand what he’s trying to say. You understand why he’s leaving. And you understand why.
Markus used real, easy-to-understand language that virtually anyone could read and interpret.
Can we say the same for us as PR counselors and corporate communicators?
Sometimes we get stuck using too much corporate jargon.
Sometimes we get stuck using words and terms most simply do not understand.
And sometimes we get so caught up in the “message” we forget about the actual words.
I would argue words matter more now than they ever have considering all the absolute garbage that’s shared and communicated each day.
So, be careful with each and every word you use in your daily interactions.
Words DO matter. To everyone. Use them wisely.