“You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.”
You’ve likely heard this old saying as a reminder that kind words illicit a better response from people rather than forceful words. Whether you’re speaking to a co-worker, a sales associate or a family member, it makes no difference as their reaction will all likely be the same. When you use harsh tones or angry language, the other person’s fight-or-flight response will kick in and communication between the two of you will flounder. However words of the opposite nature can prove beneficial to everyone involved. Consider if you use the following language:
- Soft words –These are used to offer constructive criticism or corrective guidance without name-calling, belittling or discouraging the person who may be deserving of a rebuke.
- Kind words – These can be anything from words of comfort or consolation, to words of support or encouragement.
- Pleasing words – Offering sincere praise without the taint of flattery can lead to increased productivity without building an ego of superiority or arrogance.
- Grateful words – Words of appreciation can go a long way towards building morale and respect, along with value and pride.
In the case of the last point, gratitude has a way of paying off not only the receiver, but also the expresser as well. An example of what I mean comes from a story written by Nicholas C. Zakas. After Nicholas’s manuscript was rejected, he wrote a simple thank you note (email) to the man who’d reviewed his proposal. That editor responded to the gratitude with valuable suggestions and contact info for another editor at a different publisher. Nicholas took the advice and thus began a journey to a profitable and rewarding career which he outlines throughout many paragraphs. He ends the article by saying:
Today, I have the career that I couldn’t even have dreamed of coming out of college. Being able to work for myself, do the things that I love, and still have time to write and give talks is truly a blessing. And all of it, every single piece, can be traced back to a simple “thank you” I emailed to John Franklin in 2004…My life was taken on a completely different path just by being nice to somebody. The truth is, you never know when that one moment of being nice will turn into a life altering moment. Amazing things can happen when you don’t push people away with negativity. So, embrace every opportunity to be nice, say please when asking for things, and above all, never forget to say “thank you” when someone has helped you.
Since this month is a time we put emphasis on gratitude, look around at the people in your life and determine who could most use a “thank you”. It may be someone whose contributions are easily overlooked or taken for granted. Or it could be someone you frequently express general appreciation to, but whom would really like to hear specifically how his or her actions have served you.
In closing I’d like to thank the readers of this blog, both recent and longtime readers. We appreciate your comments and your willingness to share your favorite articles on your social networks. We try hard to produce valuable and interesting content so it is gratifying when you respond positively to our efforts. Thank you!