What’s in a word – What’s that you’re saying?

What's in a word Loading

A lexical approach to discovering more about ourselves, our values, life, cultures and creating a better world through the words we choose to use. 

Have you ever really, I mean really thought about the words you use? The ones you sow like weed seeds without thinking? Or, the power behind the words you use?

And, do you take the time to think about the words you choose to use? The ones you hand pick with care when you’re at your confident best and sure about what it is you want to communicate? The words that uplift, encourage, speak of love and peace. Or the words that belittle, demean, remove dignity and en masse cause world fear?

You haven’t really had the time to pay it much attention, have you? I get that. No worries, you’re not alone!

A girl’s got to get on with doing what a girl’s got to do – we are magnificent jugglers of being wives or partners, parenting, home managing and building or remaining successful in our chosen form of earning money besides being a contributing member of our society. No time to pause. No time. But here’s the thing. Taking that pause is crucial to determine your course (goal), your cause (motivation) and supporting all of the above!

Most of us human shaped beings are poor examiners. And to make matters worse, when given half a chance we thrive on do-nothingness! All good and well when it is real time taken out to recharge your soul’s batteries but alas, if you are anything like me, there are times when I know I could be doing better things with my time – which comes with a good dose of cognitive dissonance. Bleh!

Be that as it may and getting back to being a tad slack – human beings tend, and note that I say tend, to fill the gaps and open spaces of lacking information with superstition, bias and prejudice. It’s a survival trick we learnt while evolving. And so, rather than go looking for or asking for the source and facts – too much like hard work – they tend to see what is already at their disposal, and of course what they want to see.

The same goes for communication. And/or the lack of it.

Despite the fact that this is the stuff that blows my hair back and puts a twinkle in my eye not everyone is as into words and phrases or co-creating cross-cultural collaboration as I am. I can live with that. I can, however, try to inspire you to continue your good work in creating a better world by examining what’s in a word.

One. Word. At. A. Time.

First on the list? Here’s a 1-2-3 easy peasy start to examining this phrase of three words.

“Confrontation creates conversation”. True or false? True. Here’s why.

  • Confrontation – Source: Thesaurus “the action of bringing parties together face to face”. Nothing confrontational about that.

In the Thesaurus list are the synonyms: meeting and encounter which then goes deeper into a chance meeting, rendezvous and appointment. You know as well as I do that chance meetings are the best stimuli for spontaneous, honest conversation! Isn’t this fantastic? A new and another way of looking at confrontation. If it is in your nature or culture to avoid confrontation for reasons unquestioned, present this idea and start a new trend in the talk!

  • Creates.Thesaurus again. “To develop in mind – or physically”. To bring into existence. To build. So now do you get that thing about me wanting to build and bring into existence a world where we as women – mothers, co-creators and cultivators of culture – can choose to do this through our words? One. Conversation. At. A. Time.
  • Conversation. Yes, you got it – Thesaurus. 14th Century origin in French and Latin – “to live with or keep company with”. Even to have sexual intercourse with. How is that? Fast forward to modern day use-age. To debate, yak, gossip and vent. Amongst others.

Life is a confrontation. Life is a conversation. Some more heated than others. Some not!

Periodically conversations are punctuated by confrontations and confrontations brought into the flow by conversations.

Whatever you want to call it, and however you want to define it – the all-embracing purpose of a conversation is, or should be, reconciliation. It should someday – sooner than later – serve to lower or remove the walls of misunderstanding which unduly separate us from one another as individuals, groups, societies and cultures.

But then, there is a lot to write about should, so I’ll leave that for another piece – you have enough to ponder on.

And so, having taken just a peek at what’s in words and hopefully sensing the immense power we, as women and teachers of future generations, hold in them, I hope I am able to push you out of your comfort zones, avoid using same old, same old (words) and expecting different outcomes. It’s simple, not easy, takes practice and I know you can do it!

I wish you much fun while you confront some people, kindle the flames of conversations and be party to building a better world for all!

(Read part 2 to see more ways to be the queen of the word)




Hester is a speaker and story strategist, communication craftsperson, cross-cultural connector, and change activist. She has a unique streetkid corporate savvy which allows her to share her bold yet refreshing coaching approach with clients all over the world. She has collected over 42 000 hours of lecturing, training, coaching, consulting, mediation and more recently key note speaking on the subject of cross cultural collaboration. “Being Nice Isn’t Enough – A How To Cut Through The Niceties And Get Real Collaboration” is her second book waiting to be published. Her first book is The Flying Rhino’s Guide to Intercultural Communication was commissioned in 2015. Born South African, she has lived and worked in South East Asia, the EU, and CEE. Her current address is in India. By the age of ten she had logged more than 10 000 unaccompanied flying miles and as a young person spoke on a local radio shows telling about her solo travels to far away destinations. She remains an inspiring and uplifting storyteller with the most recent highlight being a keynote on her book at the United Nations in Vienna, 21st September 2016. Read this for more on Hester (https://salt-pro.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Hester-Appoyer-Profile_2017.pdf), and get her inspirations on fb (https://www.facebook.com/SkillsandLanguageTraining?fref=ts).

See all Siya Writers




Let great stories find you.

Write for Siya

If you can write, you should do so on SiyaWoman.
Send us a note on Contact@SiyaWoman.com.