Words Mean Things by Rachel Yoka, CAPP

My kids love to explore online and share funny memes—who doesn’t, right? (As an aside, memes are apparently pronounced MEEMS with a long E, like the word “seems.” You can thank me later for that tidbit.)

Photo credit: fourwheeler.com
Photo credit: fourwheeler.com

My daughter, Sofia, comes running down the stairs, telling me, “Mom! You have to see this!” She’s got her ever-present iPad with a photo of a parking sign, so of course I am interested. The sign reads “2-hour parking, from 7 to 8 p.m.”. Per my usual response, I tell her, “Words mean things. You have to choose carefully to get them right.” We have a good laugh and start looking up other less-than-effective parking and other signs.

How often do we choose the right words, taking the time to make sure we get them right? And then do we add in a quick grammar check to make sure our written or spoken words get our point across? Signs don’t carry emotion, but our words certainly do. Not only do our words have meaning, but they last—on paper, online, or in memory.

Once we have our words carefully selected and our impeccable grammar verified, it’s often wise to consider our delivery of those words. This has always been a critical element of communication, as so much of our message to others is non-verbal. Joining IPI as a staff member after 12 years of membership has brought this to the forefront for me. Every interaction, every communication, every conversation matters. IPI staff know that every time a member calls or emails, we have an opportunity not only to add value to that person’s day, but also to make it a bit brighter. Parking professionals know that every interaction with staff, the public, and stakeholders will influence those individuals’ perceptions of the parking program and the industry in general.

Maybe that’s the secret—once we have our words, our grammar, and our delivery ready, we can make every day a bit brighter and spread a more hopeful and joyful message. ’Tis the season!

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