“Actions speak louder than words.”
That’s a pretty well-known maxim. It’s right up there with “don’t spit in the wind” and “five dollar footlong” when it comes to familiarity.
For my non-native English speakers out there, that quote means that doing has more impact that speaking. But, I bring this up because there’s both an English and communication lesson in there.
The other day I was caught in traffic and running late to a client session. I texted him a heads up, and he replied back with:
I understood him, of course, and it’s a very easy fix: drive safe. In that correction we have good rule of thumb to follow. Focus more on the action (i.e. verbs) rather than the nouns.
Think about it conversationally:
- Have fun
- Be safe
- Enjoy the movie
- Have a good night
Too often, in the pursuit of trying to translate from one’s native language, there’s too much focus on finding the right descriptor or single word choice. Even if you find it, you’ll sound unnatural.
Here, you don’t need big vocabulary, and if need be you can always explain in more detail. That rings true in the professional world. When you have to talk about yourself in an interview, you can’t use fancy words to describe yourself. You’ll sound pompous and unrelatable. You can, however, simply state what you do:
- X I’m very organized. –> I put all my files in alphabetical/chronological order
- X I’m very creative. –> I prefer to make my own templates instead of…
- X I’m a good communicator. –> When I’m at a social, I try to talk to as many people as possible.
Use those verbs, mmkay?