This will transform your communication.
Here is a simple tip that will transform your communication:
Use positives. Avoid negatives.
Before I explain that, I want you to do something:
“Don’t think about a purple elephant.”
What are you thinking about?
Odds are, you’re thinking about a purple elephant. The human mind can't process a negative (don't, not, etc.) without first creating the image after the negation.
So INSTEAD, you want to use a positive: "Think about a soaring eagle." What image do you have now? Bet it wasn't the purple elephant we didn't want.
Here is what I see many doing:
"DON'T spank your kids."
"It DOESN'T work."
"I'm NOT a racist.”
See the problem?
These statements created the opposite image of what the author intends. They are “purple elephant” level bad statements.
Instead, use the positive opposite image or idea you want your audience to move towards:
"Treat your kids respectfully."
"Keep your kids intact."
"This is better."
"I'm on your side."
See the difference?
Whenever I see someone unconsciously using a negative, I cringe, even when what they are saying is true. If you just turn all your negatives (not, doesn’t, don’t, etc.) into positives, you will become more persuasive and your writing will improve.
This principle is also useful for:
Parenting. If you say, “DON’T do that!” what are your kids going to do? Compare that to: “Let’s do this instead.” Kids do not understand negatives. They will do what you tell them to do, even if there is a “don’t” in front of your command.
Reminders. If you tell someone “DON’T forget to bring that,” they will forget. Instead, say “remember to bring what we need.” Forget and remember are both commands. Use the right one.
Relationships. If you say “DON’T leave me,” what are you unconsciously telling your partner? Instead, say what you want: “Stay with me forever.” Feel the difference? The negative points to fear and the positive brings joy.
That said, once you know the negative rule, you can go back to using negatives in sneaky ways:
"I'm NOT saying I know everything about this issue."
"I'm NOT a medical professional."
"This WON'T solve all your problems."
"I'm NOT a billionaire male model."
All true statements!
Yet, what image do you get from those negatives?
Negatives allow you to get away with statements you couldn’t say in the positive. I’m NOT saying this will hypnotize your audience into doing what you want. I’m just saying you should consider playing with it in your own communication.
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