A No Is The Word For Yes In What Language The Power of Inclusive Language

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The Power of Inclusive Language

Positive inclusive language will uplift. 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 excellent service and you hear, “No problem?”

One of my pet peeves is, “No problem.”

I say, “Thank you, for your excellent service!”

The server, store clerk, or customer service rep, replies, “No problem.”

ARRRRGGGGHHHH! Why did you twist my gratitude into a 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 around the world offers few options for any shade of gray or for what I call “the in-betweens.”

The English language is bi-polar–it’s either “Yes” or “No.”

“Hey, do you want to eat at ____?”

“No.”

“Do you want this or that?”

“Yes.” What?

Why do we lean toward the negative?

Consider when you and a close friend or family member want to dine out. What happens?

“Hey, let’s go to ____.”

“No, I don’t want to go there.”

“Okay, how about ____?”

“Nope, not in the mood for that.”

You keep going back and forth saying what you don’t want. Eventually, the hour grows late, your tummies growl louder, and in desperation, you stay home and eat a can of soup.

What if we simply say what we want?

“Hey, what are you in the mood for?”

Instead of saying, “I dunno,”say what you want.

“I’m in the mood for Armenian food.” Well, that pretty well narrows down the choices, doesn’t it? (Note, I didn’t say, AMERICan; rather, ARMENIan.)

Adapting our bi-polar language to what we want will be so much easier and leave each person feeling better about the relationship.

In the 1990s, Dr. Mitchell Perry differentiated between INCLUSIVE and EXCLUSIVE language.

Perry’s work gave us a powerful framework to learn how to bring the spirit of togetherness among people by framing our language to INCLUDE what we mean instead of talking about the universe of exclusion–what we don’t want.

Like any habit, our negative exclusive language habit will take a bit of effort to break.

5 tips to break the negative language habit:

  1. Stop to listen–to really pay attention.
  2. Hear how often people speak in the negative.
  3. Become aware of this negative speech so you may consciously focus on communicating more positively.
  4. Instead of saying what’s NOT, say what IS. For example, instead of, “It’s not bad,” focus on the good features, “I like… “
  5. Next time you hear someone say, “It’s NOT baaad,” be a little mischievous. Ask, “Baaaad? You mean it’s not good?”
  6. Usually, you’ll stump ’em and hear, “Uhh, weeellll, Nooo, I mean… “

The fast 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, wooing a potential customer, 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 geared toward us and togetherness. Your goal is to grow this new relationship. Your words include. “Awwww, listen to her, she said, “Dah-dah.” If your words negate it’s only to agree with your companion. “I agree with you, the service here could be better.”

We naturally use INCLUSIVE and positive language when we’re in new situations filled with hope for a better future.

Positive inclusive language helps build and strengthen relationships.

When we use positive language that includes–answering with what we want instead of what we don’t want–our words have the power to heal, bring together, and to strengthen.

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