[Articles on Communication][Freeing the Mind]

Folks usually do it, you know

We are looking at the being specific model in this series. This model is about what really happens and what really goes on. By really, I mean the physical universe. Here someone usually experiences something in a visual, auditory (hearing), touching, or smelling or tasting. When we report something we often speak of something seen, heard, felt or smelt or tasted. 

Sometimes, when we use language, we get very abstract and leave out the senses. However, there is something else which might be left out, and that is the person. Almost everything (if not everything) has to do with people. Do you remember the excuse, the computer made a mistake? Well, we usually use this excuse for mistakes the computer couldn't make all on its own. We miss out the person who told it wrong. We hope the person complaining will tell the computer off, and forget to yell at us!

If a volcano erupts, this may have little to do with people, but we can only know it erupts if someone reports it. When we say, 'This is unacceptable!', we forget to say who finds it unacceptable. Things can be more persuasive if we make them into a mystery. If we hide something in our language, then the resulting expression can be much more persuasive. The being specific model brings these bits we have omitted into awareness again and separates the reasonable statements from those which are all hot air.

Don't worry about losing all this hot air, though, later on we will learn how to pump it back in again! But for now we are learning how to recognise and deal with unclear and vague expressions.

Consider this:

This is the best deal you will get anywhere!

Best deal compared with what?

When we talk about comparisons, we compare one thing with another. When we want to be persuasive we forget to say what we are comparing it with.

Einstein is the greatest scientist that ever lived.

Compared with whom?

This is the most exciting holiday you can get.

Compared with what other holidays, for example?

This mailing list is simply the best!

Compared with which others?

And don't forget there are usually people involved here, and they are left out too. (What a shame!) So let's not be unkind, and grab the folks back:

According to whom?

Who, for example, says so?

This computer deal is the best in town.

Who says so?

Compared with what other deals is it the best?

You can't get anything better than this.

Who says so?

Compared with what other things is this better?

Consider this:

She runs like an antelope.

On four legs? Sounds interesting.

No. Very fast!

So don't forget that when we compare two things we need to say in which way we are comparing them.

This is the best deal.

In what way, for instance, is it the best?

Compared with what other deals?

According to whom?

I'd rather go to the cinema.

Rather than do what?

In what way is going to the cinema better than the alternative?

Sometimes the fact we are comparing is not ever so clear:

This is excellent.

Compared with what?

In what particular way is it better?

According to whom?

Listen to this marvellous idea!

Marvellous compared to what.

According to whom is it marvellous?

In what ways is it marvellous?

So, to get better at communication, practice all the parts of the being specific model that you have learned in the series and practice dealing with comparisons. This is the best way to develop your communication skills! You will find yourself improving beyond your wildest dreams! You won't believe the excellent results!!!

So, I've got a sense of humour!!!

Speak soon.


Ken Ward

Previous: About what.htm (8/1/99)

About what? and nominalisations.

Folks usually do it (Comments 16/1/99)

List of Postings: Postings.htm

Next: Mind Reading.htm (24/1/99)

How do you know that?


Most Recent Revision: 20-Mar-99.
Copyright 1998, 1999 Ken Ward,
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