Words That Elevate

Have you considered the power of words? Not just the power of words in general, but the impact that words bring to bear on your world? The marketplace is full of words. Bosses pass on the workload, employees converse with one another, sales-people make their pitches, the media informs and advertises, etc. Words are some of the most powerful tools we bring to work. They can energize, inspire, convince, teach, and rally us to accomplish great things . . . or they can destroy, deflate, discourage, and deceive, leading to negative results.

How are you employing words these days? Proverbs 12:18 contrasted how words can build up or tear down. “There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”

Truth be told, when you survey today’s marketplace, the supply of destructive words is far more plentiful than words that elevate—all the more reason for followers of Christ to use words that uplift and strengthen us and those around us. I purposely included “us” in the challenge, since negativity can rule the day in some workplaces. Words that elevate morale (and morals) may be scarce where you work. You can change that by introducing a new kind of language, a fresh vernacular that is honest, yet hopeful. Marketplace discourse doesn’t avoid facing reality, but engages people to consider possibilities above problems.

We would do well to heed our forefather’s words from Proverbs 4:20, “My son, give attention to my words; incline your ear to my sayings . . . for they are life to those who find them and health to all their body.” Do the words you use in your personal and professional conversations give life and well-being to those you engage?

You might be surprised if you knew how many associates in conference rooms and offices throughout the marketplace feel they have little, if any opportunity to contribute to the conversation or that their suggestions or input will be valued. Instead of putting down an associate’s proposal or idea, you might say “That might work well, but could there be a better way?” A CEO or manager can stimulate team members by sincerely asking, “How do you think we are doing right now?” or “What do you believe we should do in this situation?” Such language communicates that every idea has worth. You can also improve a dialogue by asking an open-ended question like “Tell me how you are doing these days?” rather than soliciting a robotic response by merely asking “How are you?”

When you feel pressed down by all the hearsay, criticism or pessimistic voices, explore ways to move conversations toward more constructive expressions . . . otherwise you may just need to walk away. Negative dialogues presuppose that nothing will change. Following this line of thinking, pessimism avoids any responsibility for discovering solutions. That’s when you can inject words that build up, like “Let’s brainstorm ideas for what we can do to improve this situation.”

So, let’s agree today to be a little more thoughtful about packing our briefcases with words that elevate, and then compare notes on what occurs when we use these influential tools more wisely! Who knows, you may be the messenger God has assigned to a person you are getting ready to encounter. “The Lord God has given me the tongues of disciples, that I may know how to sustain a weary one with a word . . . ” Isaiah 50:4

Serving Him with you in the marketplace,

David Atchison

Lord thank you for reminding me of the power of words today. I can be flippant about the power of my conversations. I need to see words as potent tools, not to be used as weapons. You have sent me to bring words of life to my workplace and everyone I interact with. Give me the discipline to be silent when I have nothing of value to contribute, the generosity to give away affirmations at every turn, and the care to raise the level of hope and encouragement in every conversation.

“The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.” – Mark Twain