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Positive Voice Blog

Clean Language

Posted on Wednesday, September 14, 2011 by Positivevoice
As I journey through London, I often overhear conversations that make me cringe.
‘I’ll try and get there on time’ (try is code for ‘not succeed’)
‘Why can’t you be more helpful?’ (‘why’ invites excuses and this question is focused completely on the problem)
Why are you so angry? (Again, ‘why’ invites excuses and this is a complete ‘mind read’- how do you know its anger, it could be disappointment or any other kind of emotion) Using ‘clean language’ is essential in coaching and is considered particularly important amongst people who work in the field of NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming). When we are careful about the language we use, we avoid imposing our map of the world on to other people. After all, what is one man’s disaster could be perceived as a blessing to another. In this way, we reach the truth and enable people to come up with solutions that work for them.

To this end, ask open ended questions, such as:
How do you feel about that?
What do you think about that?
What is x (use their word) like?
What does that mean to you?
And what happens in these situations?
And what happens then?
And what’s that like?
And what else?
I challenge you to use more ‘clean language’ at home and at work. The results might suprise you!

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