Mind Your Language
I work with a lot of teams in my capacity as a coach and consultant. Something that is rarely given enough emphasis, and yet is incredibly important, is the full impact of the language we use.
Sure, there’s heaps to be said about the importance of non-verbal communication – we all know it makes up around 90% of what others take away from any conversation – but this 90% is only effective if it is congruent with the language being used. Be warned that if the language we select is clumsy then it can disrupt everything.
In fact, that the words we say to one another regularly can unintentionally cause conflict, confusion and misunderstanding unless we are mindful of what we into the room. This can be very problematic for the cohesion of teams and clients alike because the impact tends to happen unconsciously and nobody can quite put their finger on what is wrong, leading to all sorts of neuroses.
Here are five key things to stay mindful of with the words that you choose and how you use them that should help to prevent a lot of the above:
- ‘But’ & ‘However’
These ‘fillers’ regularly fall from our mouths without us realising and they can create a lot of ill feeling. Be particularly careful with phrases like,
“I hear what you’re saying but what about…” Essentially this translates as ‘I hear what you’re saying but I don’t buy into it.’
“I think this has worked well however…” Translates as ‘I have some faults to pick at in terms of how this worked.’
And be even more careful of beginning your sentences with ‘But…’ It immediately feels hostile, closed and conflicting.
Instead of ‘But’ and ‘However’ choose the word ‘And’. Or restructure what you say completely. This is easier said than done for most people. Expect to stumble and fall and then to keep working at it. You will get there and you will see a marked positive impact on rapport and group dynamics when you do. [Read more…]