How We Say It Matters

Imagine you went to the doctor for a routine checkup and it was determined that you had cancer. Now consider how you’d like to receive this news from the doctor? Which delivery would you prefer?

  • “You have cancer.”
  • “The lab results came back showing some cancer cells.”

While some people would prefer the directness of the 1st delivery, to me this would feel like a punch in the gut. Those 3 words would leave me feeling overwhelmed, incapacitate, and hopeless. Personally, I like the 2nd delivery because it doesn’t cause my thinking to instantly shut down to process what I’ve been told. While the news is still shocking, it feels more like a fire cracker going off versus a bomb.

Now I’m not saying that the second response is the better of the 2 (for me it is), but I am saying that the words we use matter in how we communicate with each other. Our words do more than just convey information. They demonstrate our caring, compassion, and concern for the other person, or even (perhaps unintentionally) a lack of it.

I’m reminded that our words have an impact others. And while there are many words we can use to communicate a point, for me, I want to ensure that the impact of my words on others is positive.

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