Language is an expression of our thoughts and emotions, a reflection of our identity and the building blocks of our relationships.
The words and tone we use have a direct impact on how other people feel, which is why it’s so important to choose them carefully, especially in the workplace where miscommunication can be the source of conflict and resentment.
In this new report, Working wonders with words: A guide to achieving everyday wins in your people communications, published by business technology specialist The Access Group employers are encouraged to consider the link between language and emotions.
Using language in a positive yet authentic way – whether to praise someone, celebrate success or address an issue – helps to create a healthy workplace culture where people communicate their wins and worries in a professional way. A phrase that perfectly captures the sense of accomplishment people feel when they solve a problem could quickly become part of workplace discourse as long as people experience that emotion on a regular basis.
Dr Laura Coffey-Glover, a lecturer in linguistics, explains the link between language and emotions, and outlines the five steps employers can take to help people reach the point of everyday discovery.
Language frames our emotions and reflects the times we live in. It’s continually evolving, as new words and phrases are formed and repurposed because we now have a need for them. Technology, in particular, has brought with it a new vocabulary that would have meant nothing to people 20 years ago.
It’s partly thanks to technology that the language people use in the workplace is more informal today, though the jury is still out on whether it’s acceptable to use emojis in business communications. But what the use of emojis at work might suggest is that the traditional distinction between home and the work is fast disappearing. Our expectations are the same, whether we’re using apps on our phone or business software in the office.
If employers want people to bring their ‘whole selves to work’, they’ll need to create an environment that gives them the freedom to do more of what’s important. By spending less time on routine tasks, they have the opportunity to come up with new ideas, develop strategies and lead exciting projects.
It makes work more enjoyable for them and, as long as they have good data to guide their decision-making, they can take on new responsibilities without becoming stressed. Taken together, this can bring about a wave of ‘aha moments’ from an engaged and happy workforce.
Download your full copy of Working wonders with words: A guide to achieving everyday wins in your people communications