Your words and your services affect others, even if you don't see it

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about personal responsibility, business and living in your unfiltered magic.

I was tossing this around in my head a couple of months ago and I posted a question in a Facebook group, asking this:

 “Have you ever thought about how you want your content to affect the people who read it, beyond the call to action to buy your products or engage your services? I’m talking about the bigger impact you have on each of your readers and your clients, and your clients’ readers through your content, if you’re in the writing biz like I am.”

 I explained my background and why that kind of thought and taking responsibility for the power of the words I use is important.

I’m going to stop here for a minute, and see if I can construct a little story for all of you:

 Let’s say you’re working with someone- a service provider, maybe a coach, a content writer or copywriter, and something in an interaction with them brought up a negative reaction that you found difficult to process.

 You could take two actions at that point:

  1. Let it go and try to move on;

  2. Tell that someone what happened and see what could be done to change the situation so you might be able to continue working with that person.

I used to cling to the first option when people around me said or did things that bothered me. While it doesn’t ruffle any feathers (except your own), it also doesn’t bring about solutions, or awareness for the other person in the scenario.

 So, instead, you decide to let them know how you reacted to and felt about what was said and the rest of the interaction.

 Again, I see two possibilities here:

  1. They apologize and from that point on, you notice they’re more intentional with their words.

  2. They look at you, or sigh into the phone and say something like “I couldn’t have caused that. My work doesn’t create negative reactions. If you had a bad experience, you’re not my ideal client.”

Yeah. That last one’s pretty harsh, right?

Well, going back to my previously mentioned Facebook post, that’s basically the reaction I got when I asked someone how they were trying to make sure that their content didn’t spur negative experiences for readers.

That, in my book (notebook, computer, mental book of personal values, whatever) is the absolute worst reaction you can have as a business owner, when you’re asked about taking responsibility for your words.

I know, this may sound like it goes against the idea of unfiltered communication, but I believe very strongly that for people to be comfortable working with a business owner, that biz owner should be paying attention to the words they use, the reactions of others, and taking responsibility for consequences, even if they were unintentional.

Writing and communicating in an unfiltered way isn’t saying and writing whatever you please, audience be damned. That’s just hurtful and selfish, and it can’t feel like a good way to do business.

There has to be a balance, and to create that balance, you’ll have to do some of the emotional work. I feel like it’s important to encourage anyone who might read this to make sure they truly think about their words, and how they might affect other people. 

How often do you think about the way your content, and your work affect others?

April Bamburg