A few years ago I wrote about the value of learning to insult with class, instead of crass.
A few weeks ago I read a post that reminded me how much language reflects company culture.
But I found myself in the middle of a conversation about how a class of vendors would “rape” the company being discussed. There were 10 men in the room and me, and the word kept getting repeated, with intensity, from person to person as the discussion grew.
Penny Herscher, CEO of FirstRain, found herself “distressed and very uncomfortable.”
That reaction from a woman weaned on blue language and sexual harassment a la the semiconductor industry—not an environment conducive to shrinking violets or sensitivity—says volumes for the effect of language in the workplace.
Think about it.
Can you imagine Tony Hsieh, who created a culture that produced what is arguably the best customer service in the world and now teaches others how to replicate it, use violent language, whether raping a company or killing the competition, to get his point across?
Yet he succeeds admirably.
People with poor verbal communication skills often resort to four-letter words either from ignorance or laziness.
‘Rape’ and ‘kill’ are four-letter words.
Flickr image credit: Jonathan Assink