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How to Make Your Words Powerful Without Sounding Aggressive

How to Make Your Words Powerful Without Sounding Aggressive

The way we use language can help convey context, feelings and emotions. Whether we’re writing or speaking, the words we use have certain ways to put across the ideas and opinions we want to communicate and there are two very distinct types: hard and soft words.

Hard words are short words with fewer letters that deliver a sharp and punchy sound. When we use these types of words, it’s to reflect an element of firmness and decisiveness and a way of getting a point across. Examples of hard words are: simple, correct, hard, accept, or at the same time.

On the other hand, soft words tend to contain more letters and syllables that convey a more gentle sound and reflecting a sense of softness and sophistication. Examples of soft words are: difficult, incomplex, legitimate, acknowledge or simultaneously.

    Hard words come from Old English or the Anglo-Saxon heritage. During these times, the English language contained a plethora of functional words such as prepositions and conjunctions, many of which contained short, sharp words of one syllable.

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      However, after the invasion of England by France in 1066, these Anglo-Saxon stark words become much more softened due to the French language influence. Since the language of the court, government and the upper class was heavily impacted by Norman French, the traditional Old English was infiltrated by the softer and more descriptive words we use today. As time went on, more influence on the English language came from Latin and Greek resulting in the language evolving into a more softened vocabulary and less complex grammar.

        Hard words vs Soft Words

        There are advantages and disadvantages to the types of words we use, no matter which type.

        Hard Words Are Sharp but Blunt

        The pros of using hard words are that they’re short, sharp and concise, meaning they submit a punch which is useful for getting important impacting messages across.

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        However, the con of using hard words is that they tend to sound rigid and emotionless often depicting a harsh command. When it comes to teaching children, parents are more likely to use hard words to show intention of unacceptable behaviour because these are the easiest words for kids to understand and therefore getting them to correct their unwanted behaviour. But the rigidness of these words can encourage children to continue bad behaviour because of the negative feelings conveyed through the use of these types of words.

          Soft Words Are Gentle but Vague

          Soft words are able to soften hard statements which has the ability to allow people to be more likely to accept and understand them. But the downside to soft words is that they can come across as lengthy and distracting which can make it difficult for others to get the main point of what you’re trying to convey. This ultimately can lessen that punch you need for getting important messages across.

          Governments, authorities and big organizations often use soft words in public announcements or press conferences because the use of soft words helps reduce complaints from the public. Soft words are a way of sounding gentle, sophisticated and responsible without offending the general consensus. However, these words can end up being abstract and empty – in other words, they sound good but don’t help to directly address particular problems.

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            When Words Are Put in the Wrong Place

            So what if we were to switch the situations where hard and soft words are used?

            If parents were to only use soft words when disciplining their children, the chances are they would still become uncontrollable because they’re too young to behave without rules and use of a stricter tone and language.

            Also, if governments and authorities were to only use hard words when dealing with public interactions, yes they’d be getting the facts across clearly but they would pay a price in terms of their audience not accepting harsh truths or offending certain groups within communities.

            Hard and Soft Words Together Are The Best Combination

            The optimum form of communication and to get your point or message across effectively, is to use both types of words depending on the evolving receptiveness of what you’re saying.

            The most effective formula is to generally use more hard words than soft. This helps take the edge off any harsh connotations together with avoiding abstract language which can distract and defer from your main points.

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              When you need to deliver that punchy message or you need the information to be concise and direct, hard words are your best option. But if you find your message is too blunt, is moving into the direction of negative receptivity or isn’t being understood fully by your audience, it’s time to include softer words.

              One of the most successful people of our generation was Steve Jobs. Not only was he a pioneer in transforming his field, he knew how to effectively communicate to an audience using both hard and soft words.

              In his speech, Jobs demonstrates his genius use of short but punchy words to tell his story yet interjects a range of softer words to allow an easier and more understanding pace for the audience.

              So, use the concept of hard and soft words in your everyday life. Be more mindful and aware of the types of words you use and how effective they are being in getting your point across to others.

              A great tool is to write down the most common words you’re using and identify how hard or soft they are. You can then use this to evaluate and change your hard and soft word combinations to become a better communicator and see how people start responding in a more receptive manner.

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              Anna Chui

              Anna is a communication expert and a life enthusiast. She's the editor of Lifehack and loves to write about love, life, and passion.

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              Last Updated on July 18, 2019

              What Makes People Happy? 20 Secrets of “Always Happy” People

              What Makes People Happy? 20 Secrets of “Always Happy” People

              Some people just seem to float through life with a relentless sense of happiness – through the toughest of times, they’re unfazed and aloof, stopping to smell the roses and drinking out of a glass half full.

              They may not have much to be happy about, but the simplicity behind that fact itself may make them happy.

              It’s all a matter of perspective, conscious effort and self-awareness. Listed below are a number of reasons why some people are always happy.

              1. They Manage Their Expectations

              They’re not crushed when they don’t get what they want – or misled into expecting to get the most out of every situation. They approach every situation pragmatically, hoping for the best but being prepared for the worst.

              2. They Don’t Set Unrealistic Standards

              Similar to the last point, they don’t live their lives in a constant pursuit towards impossible visions of perfection, only to always find themselves falling short of what they want.

              3. They Don’t Take Anything for Granted

              Happiness rests with feeling fulfilled – those who fail to stop and appreciate what they have every now and again will never experience true fulfillment.

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              4. They’re Not Materialistic

              There are arguing viewpoints on whether or not money can really buy happiness; if it can, then we know from experience that we can never be satisfied because there will always be something newer or better that we want. Who has ever had enough money?

              5. They Don’t Dwell

              They don’t sweat the small things or waste time worrying about things that don’t really matter at the end of the day. They don’t let negative thoughts latch onto them and drain them or distract them. Life’s too short to worry.

              6. They Care About Themselves First

              They’re independent, care for themselves and understand that they must put their needs first in order to accommodate the needs of others.

              They indulge, aim to get what they want, make time for themselves and are extremely self-reliant.

              7. They Enjoy the Little Things

              They stop to smell the roses. They’re accustomed to find serenity when it’s available, to welcome entertainment or a stimulating discussion with a stranger when it crosses their path. They don’t overlook the small things in life that can be just as important.

              8. They Can Adapt

              They’re not afraid of change and they work to make the most out of new circumstances, good or bad. They thrive under pressure, are not overwhelmed easily and always embrace a change of pace.

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              9. They Experiment

              They try new things, experience new flavors and never shy away from something they have yet to experience. They never order twice from the same menu.

              10. They Take Their Time

              They don’t unnecessarily rush through life. They work on their own schedule to the extent that they can and maneuver through life at their own relaxing pace.

              11. They Employ Different Perspectives

              They’re not stuck in one perspective; a loss can result in a new opportunity, hitting rock bottom can mean that there’s no where to go but up.

              12. They Seek to Learn

              Their constant pursuit of knowledge keeps them inspired and interested in life. They cherish information and are on a life-long quest to learn as much as they can.

              13. They Always Have a Plan

              They don’t find themselves drifting without purpose. When something doesn’t go as planned, they have a plan for every letter in the alphabet to fall back on.

              14. They Give Respect to Get It

              They are respectful and, in turn, are seen as respectable; the respect they exude earns them the respect they deserve.

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              15. They Consider Every Opportunity

              They always have their eyes open for a new road, a new avenue worth exploring. They know how to recognize opportune moments and pounce on them to make the most of every situation. Success is inevitable for them.

              16. They Always Seek to Improve

              Perpetual self-improvement is the key towards their ongoing thirst for success. Whatever it is they do, they take pride in getting better and better, from social interactions to mundane tasks. Their pursuit at being the best eventually materializes.

              17. They Don’t Take Life Too Seriously

              They’re not ones to get offended easily over-analyze or complicate matters. They laugh at their own faults and misfortunes.

              18. They Live in the Moment

              They don’t live for tomorrow or dwell on what may have happened yesterday. Every day is a new opportunity, a new chapter. They live in the now, and in doing so, get the most out of every moment.

              You can learn how to do so too: How to Live in the Moment and Stop Worrying About the Past or Future

              19. They Say Yes

              Much more often than they say no. They don’t have to be badgered to go out, don’t shy away from new opportunities or anything that may seem inconvenient.

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              20. They’re Self-Aware

              Most important, they’re wholly aware of themselves. They self-reflect and are conscious of their states of mind. If somethings bothering them, they fix it.

              We’re all susceptible to feeling down every now and again, but we are all equipped with the necessary solutions that just have to be discovered.

              Lack of confidence, inability to feel fulfilled, and susceptibility to stress are all matters that can be controlled through the way we handle our lives and perceive our circumstances.

              Learn about How Self-Reflection Gives You a Happier and More Successful Life.

              Final Thoughts

              The main philosophy employed by the happiest includes the idea that life’s simply too short: life’s too short to let things get you down, to take things for granted, to pursue absolute and unrealistic perfection.

              For some, employing these characteristics is a second nature – they do it without knowing. For others, a conscious effort must be put forth every now and again. Self-Awareness is key.

              More About Happiness

              Featured photo credit: Charles Postiaux via unsplash.com

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