Rule #13: It’s Not What, But How You Say It

If you’re trying to communicate something – and remember that you’re always communicating something! – it’s important to know that the actual words that come out of your mouth will tell only part of the story. Assume that your tone, nuance, and body language will come across more forcefully than the words themselves.

Consider an experiment, one that has been circulating around the Internet for a while. It involves a simple sentence:

I didn’t say she stole the money.

Say the sentence out loud.

Now say it again, with particular emphasis on the first word – i.e., I. Notice a difference?

Now say it again, this time with your emphasis on the second word: didn’t. You’ll notice that it takes on yet another meaning.

Now say it again, this time with emphasis on the word “say.” Yet another meaning, and so on.

As you continue on, each time emphasizing a different word, you will notice that the sentence takes on a whole new meaning each time depending upon which word is emphasized. Notice also that the wording itself never changes. And so it is with our spoken word communication each and every day.

It’s not what, but how you say it. So be sure to align your words, nuances, tone, and body language to maximum effect.

Onward,  Malcolm Gauld