Vail Daily column: Words can save lives | VailDaily.com

Vail Daily column: Words can save lives

It’s often difficult to say what’s on our minds.

We have all been there — we start to speak, stop dead in our tracks, clear our throat, look down and shrug our shoulders. The moment is lost in silence. Our shyness, fear of being misunderstood or scrambling for words that don’t come, can paralyze us. No one wants to be “that person” who blundered and put his foot in his mouth. Comedians joke about “foot in mouth disease” but heaven forbid being in the spotlight that way!

On the tip of your tongue

While numerous instances allow us to choose and use our words wisely, opportunities are lost because we lack spontaneous communication skills. Researching topics, planning an agenda, writing and rehearsing speeches all give an edge that make a difference in public and private interactions. Command language and you take command of any given situation. Success is on the tip of your tongue.

Believe it or not you can plan and practice spontaneity. Use a thesaurus to add variety to your vocabulary. Pick a word from the dictionary; memorize its enunciation and meanings. Use it in conversations, until it becomes part of your brain bank. Make it yours! Adding words to your repartee will make you that person who knows what their talking about. People will gravitate to you, and value what you have to say.

Anticipate situations. Key in on personality traits; watch how words and tone trigger reactions. Genuine compassion, affirmation, correction and even rebuking can be accomplished with sensitivity. Emphasize your point. Voice control affects moods. People are drawn to a dynamic speaker, but be prepared for times when conversations escalate. Be on guard, your input could prove beneficial, but stay alert. If you get involved in a volatile situation, then never put yourself or others in danger. Sometimes you can help, other times you need to back away gracefully. Allowing heated situations to cool avoids needless conflict. Sometimes it is better to stay back and call the authorities. Words are powerful. Explosive situations mixed with foolish comments can result in more than you bargained for. Road rage, fights, riots — all kinds of violence start with crude and rude words.

Use words that make others feel respected and appreciated. Critical comments carelessly spoken, or in meanness, can devastate. Be sensitive to when it is better to listen and let someone else talk, your silence and attentive listening will speak volumes if you do. Know when your words can fix situations, and when others just need you to listen, while they unload.

Positive comments make huge differences

When I was young, a teacher said to me, “I always like how you dress.”

I am in the fashion industry today because that compliment came at a pivotal time in my life.

Positive words have launched romance, instilled confidence, encouraged drive and endurance. Words have even saved lives.

Analyze your motives, are you seeking to help, uplift or challenge? Or are you angry, jealous, conniving or revengeful? Purposeful, honest, comments are beneficial. Brash words will haunt you. Don’t uplift yourself at the expense of another.

Bragging gets old very fast. Avoid gossip, it can hurt. Treat others how you want to be treated. Don’t burn your proverbial bridges.

Complimenting and correcting should be done more often then it is these days. Children need loving correction to learn how to be good citizens. Left to their own, they have no base of good and bad, right and wrong. Parent’s words are like a warm blanket of protection a child can embrace, and grow under.

From our first baby babbles to our last breath, we communicate. We speak in our homes, our schools, our communities and throughout the world. Out of our mouths come great good and great evil. Learning to speak to make a difference is a lifelong adventure. Sometimes we are effective. Sometimes we blunder. How we communicate is a complex jumble of verbal sounds, gestures and body movements. It is fascinating that the gray matter in our brains somehow turns our thoughts into all of these actions and more. In the end the best we can do is lift someone’s day, and maybe set him or her, or ourselves, on a better path. You could give someone the confidence to succeed, or who knows you could possibly save a life, or lives. Choose to spread positivity when you have the opportunity to do so. Your words make a difference and have the power to change the world.

About Vail Chamber

The Vail Chamber & Business Association is the leading business advocacy group in Vail and is a communications outlet for businesses that want to have a voice in community affairs. If you are interested in finding out more about the Vail Chamber & Business Association and what we have to offer to business in and that do business in Vail, then please contact us at 970- 477-0075 or email info@vailchamber.org. Based in Vail Village, our office is located on the top level of the Vail transportation center. Stop by and say “hello”!

Cabal Yarne is the owner of Arriesgado Clothing Company in Lionshead and Keystone Village. He is a Vail Chamber & Business Association board member.