As a writer, editor and content creator, not to mention a human dependent on the endless stream of news, data and commentary the modern world both produces and demands, some days it feels as though I am swimming through a sea of words – and not a particularly pleasant one. I wish I could say living the #wordlife feels like taking a dip in the bright blue Mediterranean under a sunny, cloudless sky, but often it’s more like struggling through the Great Atlantic Garbage Patch with a storm brewing overhead. There are too many thoughtless words bobbing around out there, trash words, the plastic wrap of a thought or viewpoint communicated poorly, thoughtlessly, angrily – unkindly.
I’ve spent my entire career involved with writing in one form another, but it doesn’t take a professional to see that, increasingly, the words we use to communicate with each other are far less kind than they used to be. Whether this is a consequence of our fractured society or at the root of our cavernous divisions is for future generations to say, but there’s little doubt we’ve all felt the sting of an unkind word on the page, whether aimed directly at us or not. Indeed, for those who choose to share their experiences, images and opinions online, it’s almost a given that a certain percentage of the written responses will be antagonistic, even downright cruel.
There’s little practical use trying to crack the mind of a troll (however fascinating). What interests me as a content creator are those inflection points where good words break bad, those vital moments in the creative process where a decision is made to hit send on a verbal slap. Many people seem to profoundly misunderstand kindness in communications, mistaking it for soppiness, or dishonesty or weakness. They think that, to be heard, they have to be cruel, or derogatory, or shocking in a way that dehumanises or minimises someone else’s experience. Needless to say, I don’t subscribe to this viewpoint. Kind words absolutely do not need to be saccharine or contain platitudes. To me, they are humorous (think how often humour defuses tension, smooths miscommunications, assuages embarrassment), honest (granting someone knowledge critical to their business or relationships), exciting (sharing novel ideas in accessible ways) and (above all) powerful. Unkind words are the opposite: they wound, they lie, they shame and dull the truth. They close us off from one another.
That is the opposite of what we work toward every single day here at Wardour. When we talk about ‘storytelling’ (as we really, really love to do), we’re talking about bringing ideas to life, sharing our clients’ truths, and creating content that entertains, illuminates and enlightens. This year, as World Kindness Day rolls around, we’re proud to be able to say that kindness is at the root of how we approach our work, not only in what we create but in how we relate to our colleagues and our clients. Truths can be difficult and challenging … but they don’t have to be cruel. The sea of words is vast – and we’re here to help you navigate it successfully.
To learn more about how Wardour can help deliver your truth (kindly!) send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org – we’d love to hear from you.
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