The Power of 26 – It’s Only Words

It took only those three words to enhance the worldwide reputation of the musical trio – The Bee Gees and their monster hit of the same title, It’s Only Words which was released in 1968.

In their recollections years later, it was revealed this tender song actually evolved out of an argument one of the Gibb brothers had had that same day. By their own admission, the Words had the power to make you feel happy or sad.

We work feverishly to compress our thoughts, feelings, actions, and plans snippets or sound bites so they can be hurried along. The warmth of heartfelt sentiment becomes intertwined with the pulse pounding drive of action words so that emotions become a blur and all that matters is speed.

More recently it seems that it matters little if the content is solid, just as long as you got the message out first.

Everyone likes to be first. In Sports. Business. Academics. Popularity. Sales. Music. Arts. Medicine. A Foot Race. A Car Race. Few people remember, or care, who was in second place.  First place is the target destination.  But we implore you to do so carefully and properly and fairly.

A story which has grounded me for 30 years involves a young newspaper ‘typesetter’.

Long before digital technology, the Typesetter’s job was to insert the metal letters of the alphabet into the printing press to allow the ads and news stories to be printed. On this notable occasion, a major advertiser was offering a 50% sale on some of their men’s clothing.  Being a time sensitive ad, things were hurried along to make sure they could make the next morning’s edition of the paper.  The advertiser received more attention than they bargained for when the full page ad appeared. Very proudly the full page ad screamed a 50% savings on men’s clothing.  However, the typesetter in his haste, mistakenly left out the letter ‘r’ when posting 50% sale on  ‘men’s shirts’.

They were certainly first off the mark and made it to the newspaper’s deadline.

Considering what their haste cost the advertiser and the newspaper, it may have been better fortune for them to make sure the spelling was accurate.

For better or worse, once your words are ‘out there’, – especially in this lightning quick technology- their message is being delivered for every eyeball which absorbs it.
Take the time to construct messages you can be proud of. No matter how long or
short the passage, your Words should stand tall, even when speaking small.

Reputations, legacies, recommendations, disparaging comments  and effusive praise
all hinge on using the words correctly. One hopes and trusts the writer’s full intent is
completely conveyed and received in the spirit in which it was intended.

On this occasion, I will suggest that unlike The Bee Gees emotional resignation
that It’s Only Words, on the contrary, It Is The Words.

Dennis Kelly


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