the start of the beginning?

At the moment I’m reading “Positive Words, Powerful Results” by Hal Urban.  It’s been a real treat, since what I am trying to implement in the office is better communication and teamwork.  He starts off with a question that I had never thought to ask “What does the word “word” mean?”  Well, like… a word… you know… Obviously, it’s integral to our communication and speech… but I hadn’t really given it a great deal of thought.

He uses this to get you into a frame of mind to think about the power and effect of words. The fact that words convey images and meanings to people.  I knew (of course… I remember science) that the human mind thinks in images… not in some abstract form… but it’s really interesting when you put it to the test… try, for example, to NOT think in images…

For example, try to think of FIREMAN without imagining him… no outfit, no firetruck, no fire station… your brain automatically relates the image to the word.

I used all of this for last Friday’s staff training… put the question to them, about the meaning of the word “word” and then the fact that we think in images… and then used another tool he uses in the book.  A list of negative words.  War, conflict, hate, etc., etc.  The energy in the room changed immediately.  Especially as I asked them to imagine the words on the page. Then I asked them to think of something positive using those words.  Amazingly enough, everyone had to use a double-negative and the sentence still, somehow, ends up being negative… not positive.

Of course, the exercise would not have been complete without also giving them a list of positive words: love, peace, puppy, etc., etc.  The mood immediately lifted… a light relief filled the air.

And so, while no one had actually really said anything – they were all asked to think and express how they felt, but not actually use the words on the written page – I think we all started to connect with how strong words are and the effect that they have on you.  Just on the written page.  Without the tone of voice.  Without body language.  Without intent or other language to convey anything…

Hopefully all a start on getting better communication in the office.

This Friday we’re going to look at his “DIRTY THIRTY”, the things that people say or express that really hurt, upset and bother people (criticism, angry words, gossip, complaining & whining, etc.) … and we’re going to finish with an exercise in being grateful, encouraging and positive.  After that, we’re going to have a little Mother’s Day lunch for everyone to join in…

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