Thursday, April 14, 2011

President's Word: Sticks and Stones

By Pam Nulman, APR, CPRC

"Sticks and Stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me."

As a young girl growing up in the late 60s and early 70s when a revoluntionary invention - disposable diapers - changed the face of parenting forever, I had the distinct pleasure of being called Pampers more than once by my peers.

My retort to my taunters was frequently a quick "Sticks and Stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me" while standing with my hands on my hips and an indignant look on my face, but the reality was those words did hurt. The scars apparently ran deep in my case because when my children were born two decades later they only wore Huggies disposable diapers. I could never bring myself to buy Pampers, even when they were cheaper.

As public relations professionals we have a vested interest and considerable responsibility in the words we use as part of our every day work product. We use words, backed by actions, to build and sustain relationships critical to our success. Words, and the context in which they are used, are critical in achieving the objectives we set forth in communication plans implemented on behalf of our employers and/or clients.

Operating in a digital era has significantly escalated the need for prudence and integrity in selecting the words we use to achieve our goals.  In this age of quick and easy access to posting comments and responses via the abundance of social media channels at our disposal, we all need to become more aware of the power of words and the impact they can have on those who hear them and read them. This rings true from both a positive, and a negative, perspective.

Words are powerful. Use them wisely. The Power of Words.


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