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It's Not the Words, It's How You Use Them
by Mike McKinley

Because I am dyslexic, others might think that words do not excite me. Well, they do. I've noticed that sometimes by adding “ing” to the root word, it can change not only our attitude but also how we approach our home and work lives.

For instance, most of us have a list of items or issues we'd like to fix in our lives. We all want things fixed when in reality we continue fixing. Eventually the word changes to broken more often than we care to admit. So let's look at some other words and how they could be modified to be more truthful:


Don't get me wrong, this word play is not just for verbs. Here are some more words and how they could be modified by adding a noun to the end:

Drove—Driving—Road rage
Weeded—Weeding—Weed killer

Now that I have you started, what else can you come up with? I'm sure you can kill at least an hour of your day working on this.

At the core of this word play is how we view communication. So many times we say the words to someone believing they have heard what we are saying and assuming they will react in a certain way. Nothing seems further from the truth. Ask my wife Nancy. I get paid for talking, yet I often can't communicate with her in an understandable way. I know, I'm probably the only husband with this problem.

Managers constantly tell me that their employees just don't listen. Instead, maybe it's how we say what to do, what kind of shape the listener is in, what type of conducive environment is helping the communication process, and whether the talker and the listener want to communicate with each other.

Communication is not easy. We constantly need to double-check the meaning behind our words. We need to ask questions to improve understanding and to build trust. Hopefully, the process gets easier…or is that easy…or is that…oh well!

Michael McKinley, CSP, CPAE, is a professional speaker who builds and delivers personalized presentations on business topics for corporations and professional associations. He owns McKinley Companies, Inc., whose Thinking Publications division publishes resources for speech-language pathologists. Mike's Alive! Alive! Associates division markets his speaking and consulting services.

Copyright Michael McKinley. All Rights Reserved.

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