The creative art of language has always been immensely intriguing to me, be it English, French, Greek or even shorthand!

Recently, I attended a seminar about the way we can influence outcomes by better use of language. And I thought this would be a very interesting topic to share with you.

Little words that wreck outcomes

What do you think when you hear the words, “I’ll try to do more exercise but I don’t have much time!” or “I’ll try to lose some weight but it’s not easy!” or “I’ll try to do the stretches you showed me but I’m worried it might hurt!”

Deep down you’ll feel disappointed because the word ‘try’ means they won’t actually do those things! Yoda understands this perfectly:

‘But’ is another little wrecker which precedes the big fat excuse! Deep down, we know they’re definitely talking themselves out of doing something. Hearing that ‘but’ is always so disappointing. isn’t it? The reason is that what is said after the words but or however or nevertheless has the most power in the sentence. Those words simply dismiss the first part of the sentence and make it redundant.

That’s why it’s better to change around a sentence like this:

I think your website is a little outdated and tired BUT I really like the content and the inspiring words you use.

The power of one word

Imagine this: you’re stuck in a long queue at the supermarket check out and a lady walks to the front and says, “Do you mind if I go first?”

You’re probably going to think, “The cheek of the woman; how dare she?”

But if instead she walked up to the front and said, “Do you mind if I go first because I only have two items,” you’d probably feel OK about her request and allow it.

So why is that?

The reason is that she has cleverly used language to influence the way you felt. In her first statement she fails to give any reason for wanting to push in front of the queue and therefore appears cheeky. The difference in the second sentence is that she uses because and gives a slightly plausible reason which you can accept.

Logically it makes no sense that she deserves to push in at the front of the queue just because of the number of items she has. But our brains don’t need a definitively logical reason to be influenced, just a plausible one.

Don’t use don’t!

Don’t is a word which is unhelpful in the way we use language. If I say to you, “Don’t think of a blue elephant in your fridge!” what do you immediately imagine?

Using this negative word can cause the opposite of our intention, so it’s helpful to think about how we might avoid it.

How damaging to our desired outcomes are statements such as these, “I don’t have enough money to get help right now!” or “I don’t have enough bookings” or “I don’t know what to do about this!”

Language and the truth of “I am”

All too often I hear, “I am hopeless on social media!” or “I am not creative!” or “I am no good at marketing myself!” and so what is the reality? Yup those statements are affirmations of that person’s perceived reality.

Now look at how adding the word YET can totally change the mood behind the phrase, “I am not creative yet!” or “I am no good at marketing myself yet!” Those 3 little letters actually give us some hope that we can achieve what we want. YET means that it’s just a matter of time before our desired outcomes are realised.

Wherever possible banish the negative ‘I am’ statements and replace with positive ones, “I am always fully booked!” or “I am successful!” or “I am doing a great job in my community!”

It’s a fact – those who are most certain, WIN!

The possibility of possibly

When we have a problem we can’t solve or something we want to achieve, we can sometimes just give up. Let’s imagine you wanted to grow your Osteobiz. Your bookings are down, your bank balance is dismal and you’re feeling fed up. You know you need help to change things but you worry that you won’t find the right help or that you can’t afford it.

Ask yourself the question, “How can I possibly get help?” or “How can I possibly afford to get help?” or “How can I possibly find out what steps to take?”

Deep in your subconscious you will begin searching for ideas and inspiration. You could write down everything that comes to you, without filters. As the answers present themselves you can begin to choose the actions you need to take to create the outcome you want.

For instance:

  • You might search online for help
  • You might look for some free resources
  • You might look for a special offer
  • You might book a free consultation to find out more
  • You might ask for a more favourable payment plan

When we search for possibilities we can quickly discover some clever ideas we would never have found otherwise.

Why not test out the ‘possibly question’ the next time you encounter a problem? I think you might be surprised at how many creative solutions you can find!