The first part of this week’s work is to become aware of another way in which we all filter experience through our use of language.
In all situations we carry with us preconceived ideas ( in NLP jargon presuppositions ) of how things should take place. I once, a long time ago, had a girl friend who would suddenly for no apparent reason become upset, begin to shout at me and then storm away. I could never work out what was going on. Eventually, I realised that she created strong internal images of how she wanted our outings to be. When something did not fit into her picture of how things should be then her life became very uncomfortable. The image in her mind did not match reality. The result was cognitive dissonance, the mental picture did not match the outside world. In all situations we bring our own bag of expectations. We will begin by looking at a simple sentence.
Analyse this sentence for presuppositions
“He brought several pens to the training session just in case people needed them.”
The training is taking place
Other people will be there
Writing is required
There will be paper
Some people may not have pens
Pens may run out
People can write
The communication will be in a language that is understood
The information will be worth writing down.
No doubt there are some more to find.
If one simple sentence can presuppose at least nine different things then what could a whole conversation contain.
Today just listen for presuppositions.
List some of those which you found.
The way in which you structure requests and instructions can have a positive motivational effect upon people around you.
“You have done a good job with that. When you have finished the next piece you can go on to the final section.”
“At the end you can relax and enjoy the view.”
“You can find your own way to be even more effective.”
“When that last little bit is finished, then, we can see what is for pudding.”
Each of the phrases anticipates an outcome beyond the present. They also assume past events. Think of your own which will be far more motivating than these are.
Try them for the rest of the week and listen and watch to what happens. If you don’t get the desired results keep changing them until you do. Keep a record of them for future reference and for helping other people.
Developing your Ability to Develop Yourself
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