Language: The Key that Opens or Closes that Important Door

What prevents people from using their native language or secondary languages confidently comes down to seven traps that most people fall into.

Language is one of the things that sets us apart as beings, one of the things that essentially defines us as humans. When language is used well it can elicit very deep feeling in others, motivate others to action and define the nature of our relationships. Sometimes in poetry the juxtaposition of two words or a certain phrase can bring tears to the eyes, call up a whole host of imagery and move us deeply. We have seen language recently used in the politics of persuasion, used for good or ill – depending on your viewpoint. When we use language to express our true feelings to someone it can open and deepen the connection between us. Language is a very powerful tool. How we use language shapes our world both internally and externally. How you use self-talk – what you say to yourself about yourself and about the world directly shapes your experience of both yourself and the world. How you deliver communication shapes the way the world responds to you. We can use language more effectively in both spheres: internal and external and directly influence the health and power of our personal relationships and our business relationships.

Connie Glaser, a leading expert on patterns of communication has come up with 7 self-sabotage traps that diminish the power of our speech. I want to speak about each of these traps and help you identify which ones may be just unconscious ways or habits you have developed to communicate. In my work as a coach I always see that when we can make an automatic habit conscious and see it clearly we have much more leverage with which to change it. We have choices!

As I looked at the 7 Steps that Ms Glaser outlined I realized that they were an acronym – I am always looking for these when I teach because it makes it so much easier for people to remember. What happens when we don’t use language effectively is that we deflect the power of it – we diminish the impact of it- we in fact don’t get our real message across.

DEFLECT: The seven traps that derail our message

Disclaimers: “You may think this sounds stupid, but…”
Effusive Apologies: “I’m sooooo sorry…”
Fumble: “kinda, sorta like….”
Long- Taking too long to get to the point – wrapping a point in so much other information that people lose the train of what you are saying.
Emotions get in the way: Perhaps crying when you are really angry, being afraid
so not communicating at all…..
Credit- Not accepting credit.
Tag Questions: “That was an excellent report, don’t you think?”

Each of these “habits of speech” serves to deflect the power or clarity of our communication.
ü Disclaimers take the legs out from under what you say so there is no foundation. The person is asked to agree that what you are saying is stupid.
ü Effusive Apologies tend to obscure what you are saying, your communication gets lost in all of the apology and the underlying message is that you are inn error.
ü Fumbling in your conversational style is a habit that communicates that you do not really know what you are talking about or that you would really rather someone would ignore it.
ü Taking too long to get to the point hides your real message in an avalanche of words- the essential message is hard if not impossible to discern.
ü When emotions get in the way people sometimes don’t deliver what they are really trying to convey because they are afraid of the outcome, embarrassed by what they want to say or wrap the communiqué in the opposite emotion i.e. they are really angry but break down instead.
ü Not accepting credit for something - saying things like “Oh it was nothing” or “Really I don’t deserve the credit” etc. deflects attention from you and tends to communicate that you would rather not be noticed.
ü Tag Lines or asking a question at the end of a statement robs that statement of any power. It is sort of like blowing up a balloon and the moment you give it to someone insert a pin in it.

Often these are habits of communication, patterns of speech that we have learned and have become habitual. If we can identify the habit we, of course, can make different choices in how we communicate. Spend some tine observing your “favorite” trap and experiment with another more powerful approach. Drop the tag line and make a declarative statement, stop for a moment when someone gives you credit and allow it to sink in, make a direct statement without a disclaimer. All of these shifts brings power and clarity back into your communication.

I am currently offering a workshop in person and by teleclass that explores this and deepens your facility to use language more powerfully. Please be in contact with me if you would like more information.

Author's Bio: 

Connie Butler ( is a personal and professional coach working with individuals and groups to clarify their greatest vision and cultivate its successful realization – moving them past their growth frontier into new territory. She is available for personal or professional coaching, seminars and can be reached at 305-534-1119 or Ms. Butler is a published author and radio personality.