Why Words Matter

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Why Words Matter

Have you ever received an automated e-mail response that felt a little too robotic? Recently, a city employee, a bus driver, was especially helpful, so I wrote a short note of appreciation to his management. However, because I received an automated e-mail response, it missed the mark at getting to the core of how they would acknowledge the employee. The email I received used terminology such as “dissemination with the employee”—what I called “management speak.” They could have just said, “We’ll let the employee know you appreciated his service and commend him.”

Rather than communicating how they were honoring the employee for his hard work, the response had a tone more similar to filling out a form or checking off a to-do list. That employee was an example of someone who went out of his way to make customers feel valued. Simple words and heart-felt words have greater potential to convey the appreciation of an individual’s kindness. In a city where it can be easy to feel anonymous, a simple personalized e-mail would have gone a long way.

At Canright, our business is words. They help us connect to each other, and that is what a great city is all about. In order to establish connections, careful word choices are essential. That means spending a few extra minutes making the message personal. And although professionalism is expected from city institutions, it’s still possible to remember we are all human. It’s that which connects us, and that which is our strength. It was the human interaction and thoughtfulness that mattered to me as I stepped off that bus that day. I felt valued by that driver, and it made a difference in the rest of my day.