The power of inclusive language
Positive inclusive language will rise. Negative exclusive language will create a downdraft.
How many times have you heard the following?
- “No problem.”
- “Not really.”
How do you feel when you thank a server for their excellent service and hear “No problem”?
One of my things that annoys me is “No problem”.
I say, “Thank you for your excellent service!”
The server, store clerk, or customer service representative responds, “No problem.”
ARRRRGGGGHHHH! Why did you distort my gratitude into something negative? When did this become a problem that you need to say, “No problem?”
Unfortunately, this negativity is an inherent part of the English language. Consider that English, a language spoken all over the world, offers few options for any shade of gray or for what I call “the in-between.”
The English language is bipolar: it is “Yes” or “No”.
“Hey, do you want to eat at ____?”
“Do you want this or that?”
Why do we lean towards the negative?
Consider when you and a close friend or family member want to go out to dinner. What happens?
“Hey, let’s go to ____.”
“Not me whose I want to go there. “
“Okay, how about ____?”
“No, no in the mood for that. “
You keep going back and forth saying what you don’t want. Eventually, the hour gets late, your stomach growls louder, and in despair, you stay home and eat a can of soup.
What if we just say what we want?
“Hey, what are you in the mood for?”
Instead of saying, “I dont know,”say what you want.
“I’m in the mood for Armenian food.” Well, that narrows down the options pretty well, doesn’t it? (Note that I did not say, AMERICA; rather, ARMENIA).
Adapting our bipolar language to what we want will be much easier and will make each person feel better about the relationship.
In the 1990s, Dr. Mitchell Perry differentiated between INCLUSIVE and EXCLUSIVE language.
Perry’s work provided us with a powerful framework to learn how to bring the spirit of togetherness between people by framing our language to INCLUDE what we want to say instead of talking about the universe of exclusion, what we don’t want.
Like any habit, it will take a little effort to break our habit of negative exclusive language.
5 tips to break the habit of negative language:
- Stop to listen – to Really pay attention.
- Listen to how often people speak negatively.
- Be aware of this negative speech so that you can consciously focus on communicating in a more positive way.
- Instead of saying what it IS NOT, say what it IS. For example, instead of “Not bad”, focus on good features, “I like …”
- The next time you hear someone say “NOT bad”, be a little naughty. Ask, “Baaaad? You mean it’s not good?”
- Usually you will surprise them and hear: “Uhh, weellll, Nooo, I mean …”
The quick and easy way to use positive language.
The right situation can easily help us break this negative habit and speak positively with ease.
When you meet someone new, you’re on a first date, at a new job, courting a potential client, or talking to a baby, how do you talk? How do you listen? How do you express yourself?
You listen with an open and welcoming mind. Your words are oriented towards U.S and Union. Your goal is growing up this new relationship. Your words include. “Awwww, listen to her, she said,” Dah-dah. “If your words deny it, it’s just to agree with your companion. “I agree with you, the service here could be better.”
We naturally use INCLUSIVE and positive language when we find ourselves in new situations full of hope for a better future.
Positive inclusive language helps build up and strengthen relations.
When we use positive language that includes – responding with what we want rather than what we don’t want – our words have the power to heal, unite, and strengthen.