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Positively Speaking

I guess on a day like today everyone is going to be blogging about a certain wedding.  But no, not me, those blue flowers are here for another reason – read on.  Actually, did you know that in Danish they use the same word for both marriage and poison?!  Who the heck came up with that bright idea?  Then again I can’t talk from an English high horse, ‘bored’room isn’t much better!  But enough jabbering and back to the topic at hand… 

Language is a fantastic tool and the words you use can have an amazing effect on the person you’re communicating with – perhaps way beyond what you consciously expect or think about.  One of the things you learn as part of any NLP training is to become more aware of the words that you use and that others use.  You learn about linguistics, you learn how to be more precise in the specific words you use and you learn to become more aware of the impact of those words on both yourself and others.

I spoke at a seminar on outsourcing this week and one of the words I focused on was ‘try’.  When you say you’ll ‘try’ to do something what do you really mean?  Is it a nice way of saying no, you won’t be able to do whatever it is?  Is it a get out of jail free card that you feel you don’t have to do it, because you only said you would try?  Do you already know when you say try that you won’t get whatever it is done?  There’s a great quote from Yoda in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.  “Try?  There is no try.  There is only DO or NOT DO.”  Need I say more?

The negatives like ‘can’t’, ‘won’t’, ‘don’t’, also have an interesting effect.  The unconscious mind is brilliant, but it is also extremely literal in how it understands what you think and say.  How many times have you told a child – don’t run across the road – and they promptly do exactly what you told them not to do?  Try this – If I tell you “don’t think of a blue tree” – in the case of this blog picture it’s a blue flower….what immediately pops in to your mind?  You can’t stop it, can you.  The unconscious mind is simply unable to process negatives.  It has to consider what you have said it shouldn’t think about, before it can consider it shouldn’t be thinking about it!  Hence the title of this blog and the need to use positive langauge.  So little Jimmy – just stay here next to me – instead of don’t run across the road…..

Let’s also remember the NLP presupposition – the meaning of communication is the response you get…  If you ask a question and get an answer that isn’t what you intended, is it reasonable to just blame the other person and get annoyed?  Could you instead have asked the question in another way or using different words that would have elicited the response you wanted?  Whatever you think you think you communicated, if you get a different response than you intended then of course it’s that response that’s important.  Both parties involved have 100% responsibility for communication.  So if you don’t get the response you intended…..be flexible and change what you ask for and how you ask……and keep on flexing until you find the right question and get the right answer.

© Jacqui Gatehouse and NLP THIRTEEN, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jacqui Gatehouse and NLP THIRTEEN with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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4 responses to “Positively Speaking

  1. Danica Kicevac

    so true! thank you, Jacqui!

  2. Pingback: 13 Ways NLP Helps You Achieve Success in Business | NLP THIRTEEN

  3. Pingback: How to Work from Home and Use NLP! | GATEHOUSE THIRTEEN

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