To Get it Across, Focus on the HOW

Metallic ink on mixed media -Words: Federico Fellini

Two things matter in delivering a message, what is said and how it is said. More than anything people hear how we delivered our words. Were they said in love, in anger, in the midst of strife? The same words said with a different motive will completely change the message.

I love that this quote comes from a famous Italian film maker, someone who turns words into pictures that have the power to change our lives. Most of us have been moved to tears in a movie. We have been angered, betrayed and conquer all right along with the characters in films we watch. Great movies have the ability to help us process our fears, deal with our own disappointments and give us the time and space to think it all through. Great movies leave us with the vocabulary to comment, laugh and remember special times. Our favorite on screen words linger within us and come out of our mouths at just the right time.

Books, poetry, short stories and even blogs have that same ability. These forms of the written word have the power to help us help ourselves. When our own thoughts and words fail we can turn to these mediums to find just what to say. It is not because of the words, it is because of how they were said. The message lingers because of the HOW not the WHAT.

As we mature we begin to realize the power in the HOW of our words. We see when they hit the mark and when they go foul. We can understand why what we wanted to say didn’t work and when we didn’t say it just right. If the message is important focus on HOW to express it, not just one the what. You know what I mean, and you have the power to do the same. Remember it is not what you say but how you say it.

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