Don’t underestimate the importance of words. In the famous words of Mark Twain: ‘The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.’
Words touch the heart, move the soul and inspire the spirit. Words move people to do things they considered impossible. Words are timeless and continue to have meaning in contexts very different from that in which they were first uttered. Words outlast the speaker and are handed down from generation to generation. Even to this day, the words of John F. Kennedy echo down through the decades when he said, ‘Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country’. Or the words of Aristotle which echo down through the ages and have so much meaning today in our current context where he said, ‘It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.’ And the words of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be on him) which underscore the essence of brotherhood, good character and citizenship, where he said, ‘He is not one of mine who lies, breaks a promise or fails in his trust.’ Imagine a society based on truth and trustworthiness and how much we need to create such a society today.
Words are the only means we have of transferring our thoughts and feelings into the hearts and minds of others. Words are remembered long after the speaker is forgotten. Words wound and heal. Words cause tears and laughter. Words are the stuff of dreams. Words are us.
So don’t underestimate the power of words, delivered perfectly – only if they are delivered perfectly.
(Extract from my new book: Present Your Way to the Top)