Select Page

The Powerful Combination of Words and Emotion
What is it that makes language powerful? I can give you a simple answer: words filled with emotion. Words themselves are powerful, but not nearly as powerful as those loaded with human emotion. Hate, love, anger, contempt, caring and compassion are all part of the full spectrum of human emotion available to all of us. Emotion is what makes language powerful enough to accomplish the task, move somebody to action, correct a problem or find a solution.

Related: How Your Words Impact Your Success

We need the full range of emotion. In fact, things can get a little complicated, because at times you’ve got to put love and hate in the same sentence. When you feel it, it’s important to say it. Think about how often you have to say to your children. I love you, but I hate what’s going on. It’s crucial for kids to know what you love and what you hate. I love you, but I hate where you’re going. I love you, but I hate who you’re around. It can be extremely difficult to explain both your love and your hate, but you’ve got to learn to do it. You’ve got to express it; you can’t just ignore it.

Here’s where intensity plays its part: It changes the power of the word. Picture a word as a little straight pin. If I have a little straight pin and I threw it at you and hit you on the hand, you’d feel it. I’ve touched you with my words. But what if I took that little straight pin and wired it to the end of an iron bar? I could drive that pin through your heart. The pin is the word, and the iron bar is the emotion. Words backed up with emotions are so much more powerful. The emotions change the effectiveness of the word.

Keep in mind, however, that emotions must be well-measured. That’s what makes a good play, a good performance in a movie. When your emotions are well-balanced, you don’t overdo it when expressing a small point. That would look silly. All leaders have to be taught this. You don’t need an atomic explosion to get a small point across. In leadership, we teach you not to shoot a cannon at a rabbit. It’s too much firepower. It’s effective, but you’ll have no more rabbit.

Related: 10 Ways Successful People Stay Calm

You also don’t want to err on the side of expressing too little. If it’s a major point and you don’t have much emotion, your words will lose effectiveness. You won’t look very good. It is a skill we can all learn and develop: knowing how much firepower to put into our words. Well-chosen words mixed with measured emotions are the most effective. You need to have well-chosen words available in your bank of mental resources, along with enough emotion from your heart and soul to make your communication work.

Where does intensity come from? It comes from the blend of all of our experiences. Where you’ve been, what you’ve seen, what you’ve heard, how you felt, what you went through, what you got into, what you got out of, your successes and failures—that is your emotional intensity.

You must have it available near the surface. For the presentation, for the play, for the conversation, this emotional stuff has got to be near the surface. Not too deep, not too far away, but available, ready to be mixed in with the language. That’s what makes an effective communicator.

Related: How to Speak Well… and Listen Better

Adapted from Leading an Inspired Life
This post originally appeared on SUCCESS.com.
Photo by rangizzz / Shutterstock.com

goals
The Real Value in Setting Goals

What goals did you set at the start of this year?...

Don't Wait Until Tomorrow
Don’t Wait Until Tomorrow

Time offers opportunity but demands a sense of urgency.

How to Keep Yourself Encouraged
How to Keep Yourself Encouraged

Turn Nothing Into Something
3 Ways to Turn Nothing Into Something

To turn nothing into something, you’ve got to start with ideas...

9 Things More Important Than Money
9 Things More Important Than Money

Jim Rohn believes there are nine things that are more valuable...

3 Ways to Face Your Fears With Courage
3 Ways to Face Your Fears With Courage

It’s your choice: Be fueled by your fears, or face your...

attitude
The One Thing That Determines How Successful You Can Be

4 Powerful Little Words That Make Life Worthwhile
4 Powerful Little Words That Make Life Worthwhile

In this excerpt from a 2001 presentation by Jim Rohn, the...

The Powerful Combination of Words and Emotion
The Powerful Combination of Words and Emotion

Well-chosen words mixed with measured emotions is the basis of affecting...

How to Deal With the Negative Influences in Your Life

If you were to evaluate the major influences in your life...

8 Ways to Master the Art of Communication

The better you become at using these tools, the better you’ll...

The 4 Building Blocks of Good Communication
The 4 Building Blocks of Good Communication

Effective communication is a critical component of mastering success. By mastering...

leader
How Do You Want People to See You as a Leader?

For a leader, honesty and integrity are absolutely the keys to...

leader
The Biggest Challenge You’ll Face as a Leader

Once you’ve set a goal for yourself as a leader—whether it’s...

6 Essential Traits of Good Character

Success as a leader is built on the foundation of character....

7 Personality Traits of a Great Leader

If you want to be a great leader who attracts quality...

5 Tips for Using Your Time Wisely
5 Tips for Using Your Time Wisely

Run the day or it will run you.

Being Successful Is a Personal Choice

The epitome of success is giving a design to your life...

How to Start a New Discipline

Success starts by becoming the master over the small details of...

The Best Ways to Beat Procrastination

Perseverance is about as important to achievement as gasoline is to...