Words that Matter Most

buddha-tnIt was a few minutes after 4 o’clock on a sunny Thursday afternoon when my mother got the call.

“Your son broke his leg during a basketball game and he has been taken to the hospital.”

She rushed to the hospital where our parish priest met her in the emergency room.

He was a very kind priest who wanted to comfort a distraught mother concerned about her son.  Father Quinn meant well.

In fact he wanted to encourage my mother, assuring her that her son would be okay.

Then he said those first words that ruined everything else he said.

Troubling Words

“Don’t worry, gangrene won’t set in.”

WHAT?

The thought of gangrene had not entered my mother’s mind.

After talking with the doctor, she learned that gangrene was not a possibility.

Whew.  What a relief!

What COULD Father Quinn have said?

Better Words

“Tom will be okay.  The doctor is with him now.”

This would have been much more comforting than his first words, even though Father Quinn meant well.

There are times when our words could be more carefully chosen.

Even when we want to say just the right thing for the immediate situation.

I still regret the first words I said to a co-worker after her 13-year old son had been shot and killed.

“You are strong. You can get through this.”

Kinder Words

I SHOULD have said: “I am so sorry for your loss.”

I really was sorry for her loss and still am. It was a tragic, accidental shooting at a friend’s house who was showing off his father’s gun collection.

Then there are the words never spoken…

…written in a recent post by Alexandra Franzen: “You might be the only one.”

The thoughtful words in Franzen’s post remind us to take the time to reach out to someone who needs a kind word.

Read more about the importance of words on this page

and here

and on this page

and  “Get Better Answers with This Question.”

 

The Word I Have Never Forgotten

WordsThatMatter_banner_blue-medA few years ago (more than a few years . . . actually more like a few decades+ ago) . . . on a beautiful sunny morning in early May, three of my high school classmates and I did something we should not have done.

We played hooky – skipped school. For the first time ever.

(The word I have never forgotten was spoken – later that day – by the principal of our school. A person I admired.)

It happened this way:

We were all seniors in high school.

Our classmate “Cookie” picked us up at home in the morning in her shiny new convertible, to drive us to school.

After a long, cold, snowy winter in Northern Virginia, this balmy day in May felt wonderful.

Why we thought we could get away with skipping school and that no one would notice, is a mystery. . .

. . . because we attended a small private Catholic high school taught by nuns. . . Sisters of the Holy Cross who wore those old-fashioned habits and could be very intimidating.

There were only 44 students in our senior class . . . and we thought we wouldn’t be missed?

One of our classmates (it may have been me) laughingly said “instead of going to school today, let’s drive to Glen Echo Park!”

Everyone agreed.

We were naïve.

We felt adventurous and joyful.

We drove to Glen Echo Park and had a great time.

Later that afternoon we decided to return to school, feeling guilty and realizing our parents would be worried if notified by the school.

We were in trouble.  Of course.

When it was my turn to face the principal – one to one – she said something that made me realize we had done something inconsiderate and thoughtless.

Sister Benjamin looked at me and said, softly: “Ann, I am disappointed in you.”

Wow. That was the worst (or best) word she could have used.

“Disappointed” is the word I have never forgotten.

I felt terrible when Sister Benjamin said this and I regretted what we had done.

Years later, the memory of that experience came back to me and the word “disappointed” stayed in my mind.

I realized the importance of words and how specific words can have a powerful effect.

This is why businesses hire me to write, ghost-write and edit important letters and emails.

Because . . .

. . . there are some words people love to hear

but . . .

. . . there are also wishy-washy words  never to say

and . . .

. . . specific words to avoid

plus . . .

. . . when you use these 4 words your clients will love you.

Wondering what words to use when you connect with clients?

I can help you.

Whether it is creating a flyer or writing an email or phoning a prospect or leaving a voice mail message, I can help you.

All of this is included in my e-Course.

Send me an email or use the Contact page and I’ll get back to you within 24 hours.

I would love to work with you!

Thanks for reading and being part of my Internet world.

-Ann

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