How would it be if some of us were to choose our words as carefully as we choose our clothing each day?
As soon as I started learning about NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) I became even more aware of how powerful our words actually are; how they literally have the ability to make or break a situation, or even a relationship. As always, it’s about making small changes to create bigger and better results in your life, so here are 3 changes you can begin to make to your language today.
- Replace But with And
We’ve probably all been there and know the following scenario: You’re getting feedback for a task performed, the constructive feedback comes first, (hopefully) and then it’s almost like we wait for that sledgehammer of but because it’s what we’ve known for so long. Now think about it logically, as soon as you hear that but, how do you feel about the constructive feedback that preceded it? Unfortunately, for many of us, that infamous but eradicates it. Using And instead of but allows for greater rapport to be maintained and for the rest of the feedback to appear more constructive, building greater relationships.
- Replace should with anything else!
Should is literally that word that implies a certain level of expectation, and not always a realistic one either, “I should have been able to get here on time” really? Even with that traffic accident, not to mention the fact that the car wouldn’t start and your children needed some help getting ready?
Sometimes we even use it in an attempt to motivate ourselves, “I should go to the gym now”, but how motivating is it really?
Should also has that commanding or authoritative sound to it and I’m sure we all know what happens when we don’t obey that command? Ah yes, let’s open the door and invite guilt and shame in, fantastic! And then there’s the finger of blame that seems to extend automatically when we use this word in certain contexts, “You should have known better”.
Do yourself a favour and begin to replace should today, with whatever works better for you, “I will make every effort to be there on time”, “I’m going to the gym now”. Give it a go and see how the reaction you get will change too.
- Replace Try with Will and Do
I was still a secondary school History teacher when I completed my first NLP course and one the first changes I made with my students was I stopped asking them to try their best and reminded them to do their best. As a result, their willingness to get on task was quicker, along with their ability to consider new and even better ways of accomplishing these task, because try will always offer us a way out; the command itself offers a choice of action or not. In a coaching context when I hear a client say “I’ll try”, the alarm bells go off in my head and (at the risk of sounding like a Nike advert) I ask, “What would you need to just do it?”
Linda Bonnar is a coach, author and keynote speaker based in Dubai. She is a member of the International Coaching Federation and holds a Master NLP Coach & Master NLP Practitioner certifications from MindBridge Trainings, USA. Linda has just published her first coaching book, PRESS PLAY, along with a 30-Day Journal, both designed to enhance self-awareness and empower people to create the change they want in their lives.