Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Language will keep you afloat but it takes motivation and connection to move


People often ask me for two things when they want to improve their communication. They want to know more words and they want to know language patterns that they can memorize to get results.

This is a picture of a long canoe. It seats up to 11 people.  It's very stable: if you're taking inexperienced tourists out for a paddle on the marsh, you want them to stay on top of the water, not in it. But does that make it good as a canoe? It depends on whether you want to stay afloat or get moving.

I don't know how fast this canoe goes or for how long because that depends on who is in the boat, what they know, and how much they are willing to work as a team to move the boat.

Language is like this long canoe. It keeps us afloat: if we have words, we have the possibility of connecting through conversation. But if we want that conversation to go somewhere, we need more than words. We need muscle and coordination. The muscle comes from knowing what you want. The coordination comes from a connection that supports what you want. 

The language is like the canoe: it doesn't go anywhere on its own. It goes somewhere when you and the person you want to influence want the same thing and are willing to move to get it.

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