This video is just under six minutes long and it’s really worth the watch. It was first presented at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival and it went on to win the short story category. Don’t let the fact that it’s in Spanish throw you off – it’s subtitled in English and there isn’t that much dialogue anyway. To get you started, the first hand-written sign says “Ten compassion, estoy siego” which means “Have compassion, I am blind”.
The most powerful message I got from this video was that your choice of words matters. And that’s a lesson worth paying attention to in your role as a leader. Whether it’s asking one of your staff to meet a deadline, offering feedback to an employee about a negative behaviour you’d like him to change, or praising a team member for a job well done, your choice of words will make a difference. It’s been my experience, over and over again, that what you say is just as important as how you say it.
What about you? Have you observed situations where the right words helped get things done? Or where the wrong choice of words just made things worse?