is an exceedingly powerful tool. Whether you communicate orally, or in
written form, the way you express yourself will affect the way your
message is received to a very great extent. Even when you are
conveying unpleasant news, the impact can be softened by the use of what
we call positive language.
this article we are going to be looking at ways you can communicate in a
more positive way that is more likely to elicit cooperation rather than
argument or confrontation. Whether you are communicating with
clients/customers, your staff, or other employees, you can use positive
language to project a helpful, positive image rather than a destructive
and negative one.
doubt you are familiar with the "Naysayer". The Naysayer is a person who often offers criticism of ideas,
and almost always provides
reasons why something won't work. On the other hand the extreme Naysayer rarely offers
suggestions or alternatives, but is very good at picking holes in the
ideas of others.
you have ever worked with such a person, (or if you are one), you will
know that this kind of negative communication is very fatiguing for
those around this person. The constant challenging of the Naysayer,
while it may stimulate discussion, also creates a negative environment,
and increased confrontation.
don't always have negative attitudes. In many cases they simply use
language that gives the impression of negativity. They have not learned
to phrase their comments in more constructive, positive ways.
is very easy to fall into the negative language pattern. Many of us do
so without being aware of it, particularly in written communication. For
example, it is not uncommon for companies to write negatively phrased
letters to customers, and even other employees.
Take a look at the following typical memo.
regret to inform you that we cannot process your application to register
your business name, since you have neglected to provide sufficient
information. Please complete ALL sections of the attached form and
return it to us."
it is polite (albeit overly formal), it is also exceedingly negative. It
includes several negative words -- cannot, and neglected, and it has a
tone that suggests that the recipient is to blame for the problem.
this example with a re-written more positive approach.
on your new business. To register your business name, we need some
additional information. If you return the attached form, with
highlighted areas filled in, we will be able to send you your business
registration certificate within two weeks. We wish you success in your
that the negative example tells the person what he or she has done
wrong, and doesn't stress the positive things that can be done to
the problem. The information is all there, but it sounds bureaucratic,
cold and...well negative. The positive example sounds completely
different, though it contains almost identical information. it has a
more "upbeat" and helpful tone.
phrasing and language often have the following characteristics:
the recipient what cannot be done.
It has a subtle tone of blame.
It includes words like can't, won't, unable to, that tell the recipient
what the sending agency cannot do.