Using helpful language is really a matter of not using unhelpful language and replacing it with words and phrases that help rather than hinder. This takes a bit of practice and rehearsal before it becomes a habit. Some of our ways of speaking can be well established.

Suggestions of replacing unhelpful language:

Unhelpful language Alternatives
Black-or-white statements using words such as, always, never, and every use words such as, sometimes, occasionally, and at times
Over generalisingOur community is split Not everyone in our community sees this issue the same way
Jumping to conclusions/assumingMary will have taken care of thatI wonder if Mary has taken care of that
Mind readingI know you think I'm wrong on this What do you think on this
Fortune tellingMary will be upset by thisLet's find out what Mary thinks of this
Shouldingusing words such as, should, must, have to, and ought to use words such as, might, could, and one option is
Labelling Jim is a big head Sometimes Jim states his opinions forcefully

A useful way to practise and encourage the use of more helpful language is when you hear someone use unhelpful language, not to tell them that their language is unhelpful, which would be judging them, but to reply using a helpful alternative. For example, if someones says “you should say more in the group”, a response could be “yes, I could say more”.

Introduction | Listening | Asking Questions | Observing | Awareness | Using helpful language | Reflection

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