I remember recently reading a blog post by someone who is also an NLP practitioner. He had gone into a shop where there was a sign saying “DON’T FORGET TO BUY YOUR…….” above the product the shop owner wanted his customers to buy. The practitioner asked how the sales were going and wasn’t surprised to find that they weren’t going at all. He suggested a different sign and put it up instead. When he went back about three weeks later the shop owner remembered him and commented on how the sales of that particular product had shot up, so much that he was re-stocking daily instead of weekly. The practitioner wasn’t in the least bit surprised but the store owner was amazed. What was the difference? The practitioner changed the wording from “DON’T FORGET TO BUY YOUR…..” to “REMEMBER TO BUY YOUR……” and that was all it took to turn the sales of the product around.
Why does it do that? Well, our unconscious mind only processes positives, so anything with negative based language will be altered to delete the negative and then our unconscious mind will do it’s very best to get just that for us. For the shop owner, he was subliminally telling his customers to forget the product that he actually wanted them to buy and they went ahead and forgot it. I saw on a post on a business blog today for an upcoming event, “Don’t forget…..” and I wonder how many people will actually forget or won’t put a reminder into their diaries to attend this event? Despite this event being put up on Facebook LinkedIn and Twitter to remind people to attend a great majority will just forget – as per the subliminal suggestion.
It’s the same when dealing with people face to face. I’ve often been in places where I’ve heard someone say to another person, “Now I don’t want you to take this personally, but….” and then proceeded to point out personal flaws they had or ways that they did something wrong and then wondered why the conversation went rapidly downhill from there. For a start telling by someone not to take it personally, they are definitely going to. They might have been prepared to listen to
advice before that particular instruction except their unconscious mind has been sent in a direction that could have been avoided and is now bringing up issues to something that is now personal, very personal! And because it is now personal all the good instructions they are hearing are ignored while they process all the issues personally instead, as intructed.
On top of that is the fact everything that is coming after the BUT is what is actually important and that is where all the faults are being laid out like a list of failures to be whipped with. So in effect they have instructed someone to take the list of their failures/faults personally. When we use BUT in a sentence we are effectively saying everything before this doesn’t matter. So by saying “I agree with you, but I think…..” you are in affect saying, “I don’t agree with you at all and I think…” and that is what the other person’s unconscious mind is hearing from you. So don’t use BUT and do use continuing language instead, use AND to join one part of a sentence to another, like in the interpretation above . So how can we talk to other people without causing so much offense everytime we want to give positive feedback to them?
Use positive language. When you find yourself using negative language, STOP! Turn it on it’s head and swap it for a positive word or sentence. It takes practice to change the way we use our language and it brings so many positive results that it amazes me that we are not taught this in school. So instead of “don’t forget”, use “remember to”, instead of saying “I don’t want you to take this personally but…”, say something like “I noticed XXX and I wonder would YYYY work for you, like it does for me?” Start practicing today and notice how it makes a positive difference to the effect you are having on the people you interact with on a daily basis. Let me know how you get on, I’d love to hear how it’s working for you.