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Communicating without words

“I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.”   – Mark Twain

Words. Words are overused. Words are disposable. Words should be banned.

Words can be spoken, but are not always understood. Sometimes we struggle to find the right words, while at others those around us complete our sentences.

Words provide a common operating picture. The alphabet is our programming language, our minds the open source operating system. 

Actions may provide effect, but no matter the medium – the quill, the telephone, email or Twitter – meaning travels in words.

If as Mark Twain once alluded, fewer words produced more meaningful prose, then no words would force us to think even harder about what we wanted to say. Imagine communicating without words.

What would you say?

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3 Responses

  1. Krista

    This is a good post for me to read coming back from vacation–a real head-scratcher!

    Personally, I've always been a fan of the phrase "actions speak louder than words," but that doesn't always apply to the professional setting. I think as communicators, we get lost in our own words. We forget simplicity can be more effective than the perfectly crafted "message."

  2. Frank Strong, MA, MBA

    And how hard it is to think through what it is we want to say, Krista, simply. Thanks as always for the comment!

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