Archive for language

Use Your Own Voice

Speak Personally and

Be brave enough to show professional efficacy
without losing your humanity. Don’t pretend to be perfect or feel that
you always have to be right. It’s beautiful to be human.

Showing yourself as you truly are liberates others to do the same and
inspires a culture of trust.

Speak in your own voice. You’re the only one who can. Take courage in
knowing this is not just a quirky little trend some beauty-obsessed web
designer is promoting. 🙂 No less a luminary than than Seth Godin
shares this point in a wonderful interview
he did for TypePad on authenticity.

The Art of Words

Pay Attention to Your

Keep your primary keywords in mind and use them
artfully and often. Turn on your SpellChecker and check your copy before
you publish. Be personal, specific and cultivate your own style. Avoid
jargon unless it is vital to your meaning; remember who your audience
is. Vary your adjectives and listen to the beat of your words. Read them
out loud and change anything that makes you stumble. Keep it short.
Respect your sources and link, link, link.

There are plenty more guidelines to help you write copy for the Internet (including some I’ve written –
see my resource links in Beauty Online), but to me this subject really gets
interesting when you consciously use language to reinforce your values
and reflect the integrity of what you want to say.

If you want to promote peace, for example, lay down the violent
metaphors. To reinforce a connection with the natural world, plant words
that evoke the senses and sing the beauty of nature; avoid mechanistic
terms and abstractions.

When you want to promote interaction, ask questions and leave space for
reflection; cultivate listening. When your desire is to develop
connection and trust, always assume the best and consciously soften any
aggression that sneaks into your speech. Listen more than you write.
Love the ones you’re with.

Own your words. They’re yours, right there in print. Make sure they
reflect what you mean to say. Words have power and they can have grace;
let the ones you use carry both.


As you know, I’ve been having a dialogue here and with several friends and colleagues about the need for a new language in which to speak our experience of nature-connection and sensory awareness of the deeper currents in life. As part of this conversation, the following words came through Bob Stilger from the Berkana Institute. They have been ringing in me ever since, so I thought I’d share them with you:

"I (suddenly) realized what was needed wasn’t so much a new language as a new listening… We must listen deeply into these resonant fields…

Words, new and old, will eventually emerge which we use to communicate with others.  Our invitation, I think, is to learn to hear these words as invitation, not as dogma.  To hear them as incomplete and yearning rather than as Truth."

And so I find myself listening for invitations …

Ulrich Soeder

For more of my experience at the World Café Europe event in Dresden, along with two photographs by Ulrich Soeder, one of the most inspired photographic artists I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet, read these two posts on language and the ineffable, and the peace café in Dresden’s famous frauenkirch that opened the event.