The Power of Words


After watching Oprah Presents: Master Class with Dr. Maya Angelou this morning, I was strangely evoked by the way in which I use words on a daily basis. I know it’s one thing to hang with your friends and throw around a few choice terms that you wouldn’t necessarily use in the company of your mother — but the power behind those words can ultimately make an impression on the people around you that you know and don’t know.

Dr. Angelou made the point that words have the strength to live in places we wouldn’t even imagine, and the day when we will be able to measure the effect of words will be one for the ages. As public relations professionals, we know that the way in which we use our vernacular can have a major effect on the clients that we serve: the right words can cause groups of people to make change, inform the public about important issues and inevitably bring companies and organizations great profit (not to mention incredible ROI). So what are some ways that we can improve the power of our words as PR pros?

Writing — More than just press releases, but personal and professional blog and Facebook posts, tweets, and emails to our clients and colleagues. I really like words, so I receive an email from with a “Word of the Day”. It’s a great way to expand your vocabulary and become a walking thesaurus. If you haven’t already got one, a copy of the AP Style Book is great to have…you can follow them on Twitter for daily tips as well (@APStyleBook)

Reading — Google Reader is one of my favorite tools to use at work in order to stay abreast of daily news stories. The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune,, as well as a host of other blogs that I follow are ways that I enhance my reading skills. Additionally, I have about two to three books in rotation that I read leisurely, not only because I enjoy it but because I think reading takes your imagination to a different place.

Communicating — Talking to someone face to face, over the phone , through text message or via Skype are ways I communicate with people daily. Our body language has a way of telling more than our words at times, but they both work in conjunction with one another. The power of a great conversation can do wonders, but be certain that it’s a 50/50 transaction–listening plays a very vital role in communicating with someone else…no one likes a Chatty Patty 😉

So there you have it! Just a few tips on how we all can improve the power behind our words. What will you do this upcoming week to enhance the way in which you use your words? Feel free to share in the comments box below.

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