Is communication more important than language?
Before I fully go into this blog, I want to take the opportunity to say that effective communication is much more than speaking properly and using the best words to describe any given situation. English isn’t my first language, yet it hasn’t stopped me from communicating effectively nor has it been the reason why I might have miscommunicated in the past.
That having been said (deep sigh!), I can start this blog.
In NLP we have some “mantras” or sayings which we call The Presuppositions of NLP. What this means is we take them and treat them as law to enable us to look at things and situations from a different light.
There are two of these presuppositions that come to mind:
- The meaning of communication is the response you get, and
- You cannot not communicate.
You see, they might seem quite cryptic and almost have no meaning; though, when you break them down their meaning or core message is so powerful.
If we take the first one, the meaning of communication is the response we get.
I invite you to revisit a past event where you had a conversation with someone (anyone would do nicely BTW), and that conversation went wrong, totally pear-shaped!
What went wrong?
What did you do?
What did you say?
How did you say it?
I am not accusing you of anything, I promise! (Or am I?)
By asking this questions what I am aiming for you to do is to start noticing how there are many elements involved at the time we communicate with other people.
Things like, the time of the day, the time of the month, our current state, our financial situation, whether we are hungry or in a hurry; these factors can influence the how we come across to others, this then is transferred to our physiology (some people call this body language!), the tempo and speed of our voice, and at times they can have a direct or indirect impact in the choice of the words we use at the time.
If we take, for example, “body language” (I am sorry, I am laughing at this moment – I built this image of headless bodies running around talking and doing their day-to-day tasks), we can then see how the use of our height, hands, feet can play a huge role when we speak to others, we may come across as friendly or unfriendly, as an ally or as a threat.
It has been said in the past that 55% of our communication is that non-verbal “stuff” we say or don’t say when we have a conversation with colleagues, friends or children. The rest, 38% is how we say things and only 7% relates to the words we use (choose to use really!).
These 3 things should be aligned and in congruency when we speak, so the words we say should match how we speak them and what our bodies are saying too.
To illustrate this, just imagine having a conversation with a child asking him or her, have you washed your hands? And, they respond by say yes, nodding negatively and their hands are covered in dirt? Would you be satisfied with that answer, when their bodies don’t match what has been said?
Looking at the other presupposition, you cannot not communicate (a double negative, oh dear! – BTW I don’t think we have these in Spanish! – phew), what this is really telling us is We Are Always Communicating, whether we want it or not – even in our sleep.
So, now let’s look at the linguistic side of communication.
We are very familiar with phrases like “negative self-talk”, “positive language”, “clean language”, “sexy language” – aka, dirty language (sorry, I couldn’t resist) and, we also have what we call “ecological language” in NLP (this means how the language used can have an impact in our environment, both internal and external).
Language is much more than words and sentences succinctly and beautifully put together, it is much more than the artful skills we have been told people like Shakespeare, Wordsworth and many others possessed in the olden days.
To me, and let me clarify it, this is my bias; language is how we make people feel, how we make ourselves feel.
If we use negative language and negative words, there is a change in our psychology and mindset, even in our physiology, it disempowers us and, can take us down a path we might wish we never visited.
On the other hand, when the language we choose to use is positive (did I mention that we have the choice?), the results, well, are obvious, these words are healing, empowering, energetic, heartfelt and they will have the potential to transform lives, create results and move us towards our final destination, happiness (The Promised Land!), or whatever goal/outcome we are working towards.
If, to what we just touched on, we add action, planning and dedication; we will have a winning formula to accomplish whatever we set our minds to. The LoA (aka Law of Attraction) would be many times more effective because the use of our language fuels and inspires our biggest asset, our brain.
Positive language, positive self-talk can most certainly drive our psychology to get the results we want in our lives.
So, I wonder, if I may ask, how is your language impacting your life and the lives of those you meet? How is your language affecting your outcomes and goals, and whether to take action or not?
I am curious to know, please feel to share with me if you can. You can comment below or send me a pm or email (oh, and don’t forget to share J).
Till next time, BTW, feel free to suggest what topics you would like me to cover, if I am able and it is a subject I am knowledgeable about, I would be delighted to give my (biased) opinion.
With all my love.
From my heart to yours,
PS, email me on firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to share how your language is affecting your outcomes or how it has affected your outcomes.