Change the World with Words

Words can send a powerful message, so make sure it’s the message you want share. Author Vikki Carrel helps you choose your words wisely.

Words express joy, anger, frustration, disappointment and much more. We use words every day to express our feelings, give direction, teach life skills and build esteem in ourselves and others. Words are a pivotal part of our world. They begin as a thought and become powerful when spoken.

We are all profoundly affected by the way we use, hear and interpret words. Family, friends and colleagues are also impacted by our words and the way we choose to express ourselves. The power of words can contribute to or detract from our overall health. Words either hurt or heal.

We empower and demean through language.

Biased language includes expressions that degrade or exclude people because of age, sex, race, religion, social class or physical or mental traits. When used, biased language risks alienating specific groups or people. Biased language also insults the person or group to which it is applied.

Gender-biased language favors a specific gender over another.

Stereotyped language is any language that assumes a stereotype about a person or group of people.

You may be practicing biased language even if you do not realize that you are. It is best to use non-biased language. This language is appropriate for all groups and will empower not demean.

Recognize that words cannot be retrieved. Once spoken or written, if inappropriate, damage control can begin through an apology or retraction. To avoid the mishap of using inappropriate words, here are a few suggestions:

●Alter negative speech patterns by not using words like stupid, ugly, dumb.

Scenario: You over hear your teenage daughter using unkind words to express her anger towards her younger brother.

“You are such an idiot and so stupid…get out of my bedroom – NOW.”

Explain to your daughter that aggressive communication is hurtful and not acceptable. Teach children that it is acceptable to express their frustration or to make requests of siblings but negative words are not an option.

●Avoid using biased language in any form.

Example: “It is a man’s world.” This is an example of biased language. We need to be inclusive and not exclusive with our speech patterns. For example use postal workers not postman.

●Choose to use positive words and expressions.

Scenario: During a discussion with your children about family chores take time to share positive feedback. Too often we focus on the negatives and over-look the positives. “I appreciate that you are making your beds before leaving for school and it will also be helpful if you quickly straighten up your bedrooms each morning.”

●Give compliments. The process of complimenting others may seem awkward but will become more natural with practice. Giving a compliment takes nothing away from the giver and can be life altering experience for the receiver.

Scenario: During a conversation with a few co-workers, one co-worker says to the group, “I am so impressed with Jane’s ability to communicate her ideas during team meetings.” Take the time to reinforce positive words and expressions by saying- “I agree, she has excellent verbal skills and it is very nice of you to recognize that quality in Jane.”

●Explore ways to use effective communication to build esteem.

Scenario: You observe a woman in the grocery store allow a mother with a crying baby to move in front of her at the check-out line. Take the time to acknowledge this act of kindness. “That was so nice of you – I admire your kindness.”

Mother Daughter Connection!

Hosted by Fitness edu

The Salt Palace Convention Center

Saturday, November 3, 2012

4:30 pm to 6:00 pm

Moms and girls (ages: 8-13)

Additional details visit

Vikki Carrel is an author, speaker and founder of The Empowerment Project.

Add comment