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There's an expression that rolls off the tongue, oh so easily: `Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words can never hurt you.' Nothing could be further from the truth.

What you say to another human being and what they say to you has the most profound effect on you both.  We're truly able to move mountains with words. And the power of words can destroy people's lives. It really does matter what we say to each other - and how we say it.

Maybe you're a TV journalist, a Newscaster or a Presenter. Maybe you work in the Business World or are a Public Figure. Maybe you wish you could be more effective in meetings. Maybe you wish you more successful at job interviews. Maybe you wish the people around you could take you more seriously. Maybe you suffer drop-dead gut-wrenching fear at the thought of standing up in front of 3,000 people and giving a speech - or even having a truly intimate conversation with someone you love.
Or maybe - you just want to be heard.   

It really only matters that you have a need to express yourself more honestly and openly and powerfully than you ever thought possible. But, how can you learn to do this? All that seems to be offered are courses on how to prepare your 'material', how to hide your fear, how to fake what you feel. "These are the skills of the actor,' so you're told - the professional liar. Stand with your feet apart and take three deep breaths. Don't wave your arms about and don't shuffle. Look sincere, even if you don't believe a single word you're saying."  

So, what are the results of this approach? These `skills' are taken back into people's lives and used on us all. Scripts are learnt, phrases `constructed' to have the greatest effect. A terrible singsong of sound batters our emotions as the phrases and words lose all of their meaning. `Have a nice day' turns into a monster. A sea of insincerity fills our lives.

And what does it succeed in doing? We feel more and more isolated, more and more disconnected. No one seems to be talking to anyone - anymore. Words come out of people's mouths, but they don't mean a thing. We don't believe a single word they say. We feel disconnected from the person whose saying them - we feel disconnected from ourselves.  

Even the media has been affected, destroying the chance for many young Newscasters and Presenters of ever fulfilling their true potential. They're left to copy the rhythms and tones of someone who's currently successful, with little or no understanding of why they're doing it. They'll describe the deaths of thousands as if, `It's going to be sunny in the south' - emphasizing every fourth word, whatever it is. Our news  - has no meaning.  What is happening in our world - has no meaning.  

 Peter Settelen

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Listen to a BBC Radio interview given by Peter Settelen about "Just Talk To Me..."
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