Mind Your Language


When people talk about the communication process, they often quote that the content of a message is composed of 55% body language, 38% voice quality/tonality and 7% words used.

This model came from the work of a researcher called Mehrabian whose research only applied to a very narrow context.

He cautioned the reader about the limitation of his research yet his results are widely quoted and used as fact.

If taken as fact this model can lead people to believe that words and language play very little part in our communication.

In the NLP model of communication, one of the filters that we each use to make sense of external events experienced is language and we use our language to label those experiences.

Also we all have internal self-talk which we use to reason things through.

So words are very important to us.

They assist us in creating our internal map of the world and then form the communication of it to others.

When talking, the words that we use are only the surface structure of the deeper meaning that they represent.

Take the word ‘love’, for example, what does that mean to you?

If you think about what it represents you will normally have some combination of pictures, sounds, feelings and maybe even smells and tastes when you think about your internal representations of the word.

You may also attribute the word different meanings in different contexts.

When you tell someone close to you that you ‘love’ them that will have a different deep structure of representations than when you tell someone that you ‘love’ chocolate (or perhaps not if you love it as much as me!).

So if your vocabulary is restricted you have fewer words to explain the message that you want to get from inside you, which may mean that you do not get the message you intend across to the other person.

Take for example the word ‘snow’, if you did not know the associated words of ‘blizzard’, ‘flurry’, ‘sleet’, ‘powder’, ‘slush’ then your labelling of your internal experiences would be very one dimensional and your conversational skills, both talking and listening, would be very limited.

Some of the easy ways that you can enrich your linguistic world are:

#1 – Learn a new word each day.

Your understanding of what you hear and read is determined, to a large extent, by your vocabulary.

So improve your vocabulary daily using resources such as www.dictionary.com.

You will improve your understanding of the world and become more effective as a communicator. If you regularly hear a word used in conversation that you do not know the meaning of, look it up and once you are familiar with its meaning use it yourself.

#2 – Read something of interest each day.

Not just novels or news, something of significance to your job or personal growth.

If you read at the average reading speed of 230 words per minute by reading just 15 minutes per day you will read at least extra 50 books each year!

That will increase your vocabulary and your growth as a person.

#3 – 

Listen to broadcast material.

The radio and radio 4 seem a bit dated nowadays yet still broadcast many interesting subjects which are easy listening whilst driving.

Likewise on the internet there are podcasts, downloads and webinars which will allow you to increase your vocabulary and learn something interesting at the same time.

If you then want to become an excellent communicator, studying the language patterns and principles of the structure of language of NLP Meta and Milton models must be a consideration for you.

These are taught on our NLP+® Practitioner and Master Practitioner courses and take your communication skills to the next level.

The basis of how effective we are in life is shown in how wide our vocabulary is and how well we use the communication process.

Many people think that process is over once we leave school yet it is a process we should never stop learning.

As British composer, John Powell said, ‘Communication works for those who work at it’. 

Learn more about communication models and language patterns by taking one of our NLP+® Trainings…

Click here for more information on our NLP+® Practitioner Training

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