Words change the world.
They inspire, unite, direct, empower and prompt action.
They also discourage, divide, anger, misguide, confuse and mislead.
Empires, governments, businesses, relationships and careers rise and fall because of words.
Study President Obama's inaugural speech, John Lennon's "Imagine," Shakespeare's King Lear, The Oprah Winfrey Show's 25 years of broadcast, Forrest Gump's sweet assessment of life and Pliny The Younger's love letters to Calpurnia and you will realise the power of words.
In faith and belief, billions and generations of people have centred their lives on words within Judaism's Tanakh, Christianity's Bible, Islam's Qur'an, the Hindu Sruti, Buddhism's Theravada and more recently, Scientology's Dianetics.
Words change the world.
As entrepreneurs, business leaders and aspiring company directors, think very carefully about the words filling the borders of your emails, documents, instant messages and social media profiles.
Never, ever, underestimate the professional and personal impact of the words you write and send into the ether. Businesses rise and plunge, with written communications evidenced everyday in the world's courts of law in cases against entrepreneurs, CEOs, leaders and colleagues for abuse, defamation, breach of contract, incompetence, misdirection, unfair dismissal, harassment and unlawful business engagement.
As email is the dominant communication tool for entrepreneurs today, here are thirty suggestions to protect and power your enterprise with words that inspire, drive business, loyalty and return on written investment.
- Approach every email with the motivation of selling, optimising or approving an idea, product, service, direction or recommendation. With time, revenue and organisational demands on yourself, the opportunity cost is high when communication does not originate from these objectives.
Words can and will shape the future of your company and the world's perception of it.
However, with 1.9 billion email users exchanging over 294 billion messages globally everyday, something more important than your words is? The environment.
Care, challenge and catalyse change within every institution, client, colleague or partner who prints or requests you to print any email or documents exchanged. Educate them about digital alternatives to storing, presenting, viewing, sharing, editing, signing and transmitting documents. You are brilliant, but none of your words or your sender's words are as important as the shared survival of our world's ecosystems.
Within the thirty years between 1960 and 1990, scientists estimated that one fifth of the world's tropical rainforests were destroyed, significantly fuelled by global demand for paper products -- largely contributed by our hunger to exchange and 'consume' words. Deforestation kills ecosystems and accelerates climate change, with the National Geographic Society warning that the world's rainforests could completely vanish in a hundred years at the current rate of deforestation.
With almost 300 billion email messages advancing human knowledge, accelerating business, tightening relationships and conversationally crossing the world everyday, understand the definitive power of your words. However, take a humbler position of its value when weighted against the serious global issues of deforestation, habitat destruction, wildlife extinction and our planet's very survival and sustainability.
Words are central to the human experience of communication and catalytic to the business pursuit of enterprise-building and profitability.
Words can build nations, companies, confidence, loyalty, relationships and trust. They also have the power to cause the opposite.
There is no 'chicken or egg' analogy in this situation. It is very clear. Before actions, come words.
It is with intelligence, integrity and commitment that actions thereafter speak as loud as the words.
Think forward, write well, lead change, print never, recycle always and start today.