03 Apr The Power of Words
I am a lover of words. Mesmerised by them, some might say. I believe in the power of words, but even more so, I am amazed at the power of those who use words well.
It’s a beautiful spring day here in the UK and it reminded me of this moving video which literally stops me in my tracks every time I watch it. Maybe you’ve seen it too.
A blind man is begging in the street. Mostly, he is ignored. In front of him sits a sign saying “Blind, please help.” Very few do until something remarkable happens. A passerby stops and writes another sign. This one says “It is a beautiful day and I can’t see it”. All of a sudden, people stop and give more generously.
It is very powerful clip. I use it on all kinds of programmes. We talk about how the words we use impact the perception people have of us and their reactions to us. When we are merely descriptive – “I am blind” – people don’t connect, but when we create a point of connection there is a chance for empathy and something deeper.
And the video also deftly illustrates our core belief at More2Gain– that changing the way inclusion and diversity is communicated – from what it is to what it can deliver – is the only way to build inspiring and moving connections.
Because, let’s be honest now. Whether we like it or not, inclusion and diversity tends to have a bit of an image problem. Variously perceived as boring, irrelevant, something to do with minority groups etc… I need not go on, I am sure you have heard it all before… the point is that factual, unimaginative messages fail to draw people in.
And yet as this video shows, small differences in messaging have the potential to make people stop and think and engage… or just walk on by.
So ask yourself honestly: how often, if ever, have you been really inspired by inclusion and diversity? Which stories do you remember? The video of the blind man begging has the power to move us to action. Why? Because it is personal, intimate and tells a human story.
And just like the producer of this film, we believe in the power of imaginative storytelling. Whichever idea you wish to convey, do it with stories, inject some reality and intimacy and you are guaranteed to bring it alive.
So, my invitation to you would be to ask your colleagues to share their stories. What do they feel when they read about or hear about inclusion and diversity? Which emotions would you like them to feel? How can you anchor it into their daily lives?
Have new conversations about this. Have fun with this. Explore what you can do to reframe the conversation. Don’t allow convention to hold you back.
Because as the video reinforces, so very simply and powerfully, defying conventions and changing your message….really does make all the difference.