The Power of Inclusive Language

The Power of Inclusive Language

Positive inclusive language will lift. Negative exclusive language will create a downward current.

How many times have you heard the following?

  • “No problem.”
  • “Not exactly.”

How does it feel when you thank a server for great service and hear “No problem?”

One of my favorite teases is “No problem.”

I say, “Thank you for the excellent service!”

The server, store clerk, or customer service representative responds, “No problem.”

ARRRRRGGHHHH! Why did you twist my thanks into a negative? When did it become a problem to which you have to say “No problem?”

Unfortunately, this negativity is an inherent part of the English language. Consider that English, a language spoken all over the world, offers few opportunities for any shade of gray or what I call “in-between”.

The English language is bipolar – either “Yes” or “No”.

“Hey, do you want to eat at ____?”


“Do you want this or that?”

– Yes. What?

Why do we lean towards the negative?

Consider when you and a close friend or family member want to dine out. What’s happening?

“Hey, let’s go to ____.”

“Not me do not I want to go there.”

“Okay, how about ____?”

“No, no in the mood for it.”

You keep going back and forth and saying what you don’t mean. Eventually, class is late, your tummies growl louder, and you end up staying home and eating a can of soup in desperation.

What if we just say what we want?

“Hey, what are you in the mood for?”

Instead of saying “I do not know,”say what you want.

“I’m in the mood for Armenian food.” Well, that pretty much narrows down the choices, doesn’t it? (Notice I didn’t say AMERICAN; rather, ARMENIAN.)

Adapting our bipolar language to what we want will be much easier and leave each person feeling better about the relationship.

In the 1990s, Dr. Mitchell Perry distinguished between INCLUSIVE and EXCLUSIVE language.

Perry’s work has given us a powerful framework for learning how to bring a spirit of togetherness to people by framing our language to INCLUDE what we mean, instead of speaking to the universe of exclusion—what we don’t want.

Like any habit, our negative exclusive language habit will take some effort to break.

5 tips to overcome the negative language habit:

  1. Stop listening really pay attention.
  2. Hear how often people talk negatively.
  3. Become aware of this negative self-talk so you can consciously focus on more positive communication.
  4. Instead of saying what it’s NOT, say what it IS. For example, instead of “It’s not bad,” focus on the good features, “I like…”
  5. The next time you hear someone say “It’s NOT baad”, be a little naughty. Ask “Baaaad? You mean it’s not good?”
  6. Usually, you’ll trip them up and hear, “Uh, uh, uh, uh, uh, I mean . . .”

The quick and easy way to use positive language.

The right situation can easily help us break this negative habit and speak positively with ease.

When you meet someone new – whether you’re on a first date, at a new job, courting a potential client or talking to a baby – how do you talk? how do you listen How do you express yourself?

You listen with an open and welcoming mind. Your words are aimed at us and togetherness. Your goal is to grow up this new relationship. Your words include. “Awww, hear her, she said, ‘Yeah-yeah.'” If your words deny, it’s only for Agreed with your companion. “I agree with you, the service here could be better.”

We naturally use INCLUSIVE and positive language when we are in new situations filled with hope for a better future.

Positive inclusive language helps construction and strengthen relations.

When we use positive, inclusive language—responding with what we want instead of what we don’t want—our words have the power to heal, unite, and strengthen.

#Power #Inclusive #Language

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