“Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.” – Rudyard Kipling
Words are powerful! Consider these famous brands whose whole identity is defined by a few words.
- Bounty: The Quicker Picker Upper.
- American Express: Don’t leave home without it.
- United Airlines: Fly the friendly skies.
- Disney: The happiest place on earth.
We remember these words. These words have power. These words have certainly left an imprint!
In our series on diabetes and technology, today we’re revisiting a previous post about the power of language. When using technology tools, especially for virtual visits, the words we choose are just as important, if not more so than with in-person conversation. It’s hard (or even impossible) to read body language, voice tone and inflection, etc. So choosing person-centered, strength-based language during technology discussions is critical.
If you’ve followed our blog over the last 3 years, you’ve seen that we’ve focused a lot on the power of words. Words can define how people view themselves and their situations. Words can empower. Or words can stigmatize and judge. Our belief and practice @AFreshPOVforYou centers around using words that focus on strengths and create solutions, instead of words that dwell on the past and on problems.
Changing the conversation
You may know that we partnered to help create the Telly Award winning video, Changing the Conversation (you can find it here), that focuses on the impact words have when living with a chronic medical condition. The video begins with Words are powerful! We’ve watched this video hundreds of times and yet, it still brings a tear to our eyes. Why? Because the words resonate with our emotions and what we believe to be true, but most importantly, the words came directly out of the mouths of individuals who live with diabetes – Every. Single. Day. They shared their thoughts, feelings and emotions with us to create the inspiring words incorporated in the video.
Now what if the same thing happened with healthcare communication? If careful thought was given to words used in conversation with clients; choosing words that resonated with people living with diabetes. Words that mattered. We can change the way they feel. Words that empowered them. Words that could transform them for the better.
Over the course of writing our blog, engaging in research, and connecting with the diabetes community we have been compiling words that align with the tenets of a solution-focused approach to care and education. You see some of those in the word cloud above. Words spoken by people with diabetes in surveys, research and focus groups. Words expressed during Twitter chats. You can read a few of our blogs about strengths, exceptions and possibilities here.
How are your words impacting others today?
Together, we can slowly evolve our vocabulary and ultimately change our messages. Together we can embrace possibilities, opportunities and create a fresh vision for the future.
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Deb is employed by Dexcom, but her words and opinions in this blog are her own.
Tami is employed by the University of Kentucky HealthCare Barnstable Brown DIabetes Center, but her words and opinions in this blog are her own.