"Training" is for dogs: why language matters
<![CDATA[My New Year’s resolution: Eliminate “training” and “change” from my vocabulary. Over the past year, it's become clear to me that my choice of words makes a huge difference in how people respond in conversations. Two specific words come to mind: training and change. It strikes me that training is something that people do to dogs. People learn. Whenever people are told (forced, coerced, volunteered, directed, made to comply) to attend a training, their natural defenses kick into gear and a rejection response takes place. You may have had someone point their finger at you and say, “You’ll love this training class. It's the best thing that you’ll ever do!” I refer to this as “giving people the finger.” Change is the other word that seems to strike fear into virtually every human. Your brain gets very comfortable processing things the same way and thinking about things in the usual fashion. When presented with the threat of having to do something differently, or think in a different way, again the natural protection forces of the brain kick into gear and put up a rejection response. So what do we say to people to get them to at least take a moment to think about something new? Our experience is that when you present people with a change or a new idea in a way that increases their dignity and self-respect, you will get them to open their minds to learning something new. “Would you like to learn what some of the most successful people in this organization are doing to achieve greatness?” People like to learn. They don’t like being trained or changed. I plan to welcome the new year with this simple lesson in mind.]]>
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