Tame Your Tongue // McClain McKinney


Tame Your Tongue

by McClain McKinney

“Kind words are like honey–sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.”
Proverbs 16:24

“Your presentation is not to contain bullet points. You are not to tell us how to attack our influence problems.” Influencer Robert Cialdini was taken aback. Removing these elements from his keynote would diminish the quality of his presentation, but these were the sole demands. Baffled, Cialdini retorted “Uh, what?”.

Violent language can lead to more aggressive acts. In a recent experiment, two test groups were given a deck of index cards, which would contain a single word on each card. The group would have to arrange the cards to create a complete thought. One deck of cards contained more violent words, while the other deck contained more peaceful words. After the participants finished this portion of the test, they were lead to a subsequent section of the experiment where they were asked to deliver 20 electric shocks to a fellow subject and determine how painful the electric shocks should be. Those who had the more aggressive deck, delivered an electric shock 48% more intense than the peaceful deck group. 

This is a staggering gap considering that solely by altering our word choice, a group would become more aggressive. 

Consider The Hippocratic Oath, the oath which most all medical schools preach: ‘Primum non nocere.’ This translates directly to “first, do no harm.” 

Healthcare organizations should be so devoted to acts of healing, that not even their language can reflect violence.  A leader from one organization stated, “As a healthcare organization, we’re devoted to acts of healing, so we never use language associated with violence. We don’t have bullet points; we have information points. We don’t attack a problem, we approach it.” This organization was so set apart from many health organizations it led them to become the first healthcare organization in history to be awarded the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award by President George W. Bush.

If we are allowing unholy words to pass through our mouths, research shows that the damage can be monumental. Imagine if we were to eliminate negative, aggressive, or destructive from our colloquial speech. I want to see a world where people don’t even need health companies. A world where we take captive our thoughts, and we encourage one another to be victorious in fulfilling their calling and purpose. 

The statements in this document have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. None of the products or services contained herein are intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

McClain McKinney