Tag Archives: language

Minding your language

The language of strengths individualises each of us; whereas, the language used to describe problems tends more to aggregate us into less well-defined groups. In the following brief video, I will contrast the types of language we use for describing ourselves either from a problems perspective or from a strengths approach. Click on the following link now to access the video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bALixNzWHVU

 

This video is part of the email sequence providing subscribers with access to a wide range of strengths-based resources. If you wish to subscribe to the email list click the following link (it’s FREE resources that I am offering, with no catch!):

https://positiverisktaking.lpages.co/working-with-strengths-2/

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Podcast Episode 065: Puncturing pomposity

Person-centred (2009)
Person-centred (2009)

Why are we so enamoured with our impenetrable jargon and gobbledegook? All professions adopt it, seemingly as a badge of membership, and as an illustration of their special exclusivity. For the outsider, having the unfortunate need of the services of a professional, the langauage is often likely to be the first insurmountable barrier.

In this episode aI briefly explore how meetings can be fun experiences. In the undignified way you might want to adopt a game of ‘bullshit bingo’. In a more dignified way, it is a chairperson’s role to give permission for the use of the more humourous examples and anecdotes, even when the overall subject matter is heavy and serious. It should be more about encouraging lateral or creative thinking, but do it in simple and accessible language.

For the full content of this episode click on the links to iTunes and Sound Cloud (or go to Stitcher Radio):

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/strengths-revolution-steve/id867043694

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/065-puncturing-pomposity/id867043694?i=346798306&mt=2

“I think there needs to be a meeting to set an agenda for more meetings about meetings.” [Jonah Goldberg].

Do what you say on your tin

Canadian Falls 3Are you taking the risk? It is something we all do, but why do we confuse and complicate it by our lackadaisical use of language? We take risks in order to gain something for ourselves, and occasionally others. We weigh up the options available to us, and make a decision based on what we compute to be the most beneficial course of action. It is called positive risk-taking not because we are trying to find a ‘positive risk’ (whatever that is), but because we are taking the risk in order to achieve a positive outcome (the gain or benefit). So, the word positive is about the outcome not about the risk! I am also not talking about ‘positive risk management’, which sounds too general and like unnecessary window-dressing of a process more often seen as negative or risk-averse. The word positive is being added to risk-taking, in my context, in order to bring some clarity and specific detail to your thinking.

We revere risk-takers in the worlds of sport, entertainment and business, tending to attribute degrees of awe to their decision-making and achievements. Do you think Ayrton Senna planned his route, speed and overtaking manoeuvres around the race-track because he thought the risk would be nice? Does Warren Buffett make his financial decisions based on a spin of his favourite coin? It is more than likely that both of these people employed complex ways of weighing up the pros and cons of choices facing them, sometimes with careful thought and consideration, and sometimes distilling a lifetime of experience into a split second. So do we, in our own personal circumstances.

Risk Decision-MakingSo, next time you are leaning on a bar deciding whether to have that extra Babycham, remember that positive risk-taking is weighing up the pros and cons of your particular set of circumstances at that time. Whereas the positive risk is simply the chance that they might taste better the more you have; and the positive risk management is the hope that those around you will help you home instead of tying you to a lamp-post at the end of the night. These concepts mean different things, so be clear when you use language, only positive risk-taking is thoughtful and considered. But… what do you think?

http://www.pavpub.com/risk-decision-making/

“Words are how people think. When you misuse words, you diminish your ability to think clearly and truthfully.” [Margaret Heffernan].

Strengths-Based Practice

OMOpen Mind was a fabulous social care focused magazine for which I published a number of articles between 2000-2012. The following article was first published in OpenMind 126, Mar/Apr 2004) and was reproduced with their kind permission on my website at Practice Based Evidence.

It remains just as pertinent to practice today as it ever was, so I provide the link here to the strengths-based article. It focuses on the importance of principles, and the need to change the focus of our language in health and social care services to ‘go beyond  the alphabet of negativity’…

http://practicebasedevidence.squarespace.com/storage/pdfs/OpenMind-StrengthsBasedPractise.pdf