Mind Your Language !

Jocelynne Rowan (MCIPR) Freelance copywriter and communications professional – passionate about telling your story clearly and simply and an NLP Business Practitioner !

Whilst struggling recently to find something to write about for my blog. I racked my brains, looking back on my week to see what I’ve done that could be remotely interesting to anyone else or that I could use to illustrate an idea. Hospital visits? Nope – nothing there. Craft course? Well actually… yes!

I’ve taken my own advice (I did a previous blog post about taking time off when you work for yourself !) and have done a lovely needle felting day course. I made a bumble bee, although you could be forgiven for thinking it was a hornet!

Anyway, the point I want to make is this. Although we were a mixed bunch on the course, with some fairly competent at the craft and some, like me, complete novices, the instructor made us all feel we were doing a good job, by the way she spoke to each of us.

If we were struggling with a technique, rather than make us feel we’d done something wrong, she gently explained that we might find it easier if we tried it ‘this’ way, and patiently demonstrated again. And as we each finished, and our bumble bees were assembled onto their stands, she said ‘well done’ to each one of us and made us all feel like our bees were the best she’d ever seen.

Choosing words more carefully

And that reminded me of the NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) and coaching courses and qualifications I’ve done. During the courses we learned how we hear things and how we respond to the different ways people talk to us, then how to use those learnings to change the way we talk to others.

It’s so easy to concentrate on the negatives and takes real effort to turn it round and be more positive!

Certain words we say or write can change how the listener/reader interprets what we are actually saying. My NLP tutor, Florence Madden, in her book The Intention Impact Conundrum, (https://florencemadden.co.uk/books/) talks about language and the way our language impacts on the people with whom we communicate. She talks about ‘weasel words’ – words that lead the listener to interpret what we’ve said in a more negative way.

These ‘weasel words’ include: but; try; should; if; difficult; can’t; unfortunately. When used in a sentence, these words tend to cancel out any positives and imply a more negative meaning or introduce uncertainty. For example: “I like what you’ve done, but…”. The ‘but’ eliminates any positivity from the first part of the sentence, because all the listener hears is the ‘but’ and what follows.

The careful choosing of the words you use is just a very small part of NLP, but is easy to understand and, with practice, easy to adopt – and, as my needle felting tutor demonstrated, can produce positive results and a feeling of wellbeing and achievement. Please do read Florence’s book – it’s an easy read and could help with making some wonderful, positive changes in the way you communicate.

And finally…

My bumble bee may be a bit too big and a bit clumsy. However, it was my first attempt at needle felting and couldn’t be mistaken for anything else – other than an Asian Giant Hornet. Look it up – you’ll be glad they are found in Japan and Korea and not as yet in the UK! Rather than thinking I had failed, I’ve booked myself onto another course, and will be making a needle-felted red squirrel in the Autumn.

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