Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Watch Your Language - Cut the Word "Don't" from Your Vocabulary
Be careful with the word “Don’t”. It can unintentionally create the opposite effect on your audience from what you wanted to convey.
Have you ever wondered why when people are asked NOT to do something, they often end up doing exactly that?. Often it is because of the word “Don’t”.
You see, the word “Don’t” cannot be pictured in the mind. This causes the mind to try and make sense of the sentence by focusing on the words that follow the word “Don’t”. The mind focuses on things that it can picture. The result? More often than not, the word “Don’t” is ignored and your audience gets the exact opposite of your intended message.
“Don’t feel you have to make a decision now” is understood as “You have to make a decision now”.
“Don’t worry” is understood as “Worry”.
“Don’t get angry with me” is understood as “Get angry with me”.
“Don’t be sad” is understood as “Be sad”.
“Don’t be shy” becomes “Be shy”.
When children are told “Don’t run along the corridor”. They understand as it as “Run along the corridor” to the chagrin of their parents or teachers.
So what is the solution? Use positive language patterns that state clearly what you are asking for.
Instead of “Don’t worry” say “Be calm”.
Instead of “Don’t run” say “Walk”.
Instead of "Don't be sad" say "Be happy".
Of course, there are those who are well aware of this “weakness” in the workings of the human mind and deliberately use it to gain an advantage.
“Don’t take me to dinner, if you don’t want to” is a sly way of demanding the listener to “Take me to dinner, you want to".
“Don’t miss me by too much” is a manipulative instruction to the listener to “Miss me by much”.