Influence. Most people want more of it. It can be frustrating if you are unable to affect important events and circumstances in the world around you.
Those same people don’t realise how much influence they already have, but are unknowingly frittering it away. It’s not really their fault – they don’t know any better yet.
This series will cover simple things you can do to use your language to reclaim your influence and expand on it easily.
Language that magnifies emotion
There is one simple word that you use every day which amplifies emotions: “why?”
More specifically, asking “why?” will tend to magnify another person’s current emotional state.
How you currently misuse it:
When dealing with problems and when you are trying to help people out, I’ll bet the first question that comes to mind is “why…?”
When I train people in NLP, I put a temporary ban on ‘asking why’ when dealing with problems, because it tends to magnify the problem.
In short, “why?” creates “because.”
Asking “why are you feeling sad?” results in the client generating more justification for the sadness. This brings them further into the emotion of ‘feeling sad’ and tends to focus their mind more on sadness. A downward spiral.
In this way, a carelessly worded, but well intentioned question can suck any remaining positivity out of their day.
How you can use it powerfully:
On the upside, asking “Why?” doesn’t just accelerate negative feelings. You can take a more positive emotion and build upon it instead.
If someone is mildly happy, asking “why are you so cheerful today?” tends to result in reasons for the cheerfulness, creating more cheerful feelings and focuses more of their attention on the good feelings. it creates an upward spiral.
To amplify their current state, good or bad, just ask “why…?”