Monday, April 14, 2008

"Positive Direction": May The Force Be With You

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Remember this scene from Star Wars ?

Stormtrooper: Let me see your identification.

Obi-Wan: (influencing the stormtrooper's mind) You don't need to see his identification.

Stormtrooper: We don't need to see his identification.

Obi-Wan: These aren't the droids you're looking for.

Stormtrooper: These aren't the droids we're looking for.

Obi-Wan: He can go about his business.

Stormtrooper: You can go about your business.

Obi-Wan: Move along

Stormtrooper: Move along. Move Along.


This bit of dialogue showing how "The Force" works is similar to the communication tool known as Positive Direction.

Positive Direction is a style of communication that works toward making positive behaviors happen. Don't and Stop are negative words that often fail to register as we think. Instead, it is human nature to register the words that come after the dont's and the stop's.

When you use Positive Direction, you give the person with whom you are communication a positive image to attain. There's likely to be more cooperation. Hopefully less rebellion. And if so, then everyone feels good.



Instead of: Don't throw your coat on the floor!
Try: Hang you coat up.

Instead of: Stop interrupting me when I'm on the phone.
Try: Wait and I'll talk to you later.

Instead of: Don't be so loud!
Try: Talk in a quiet voice.

Instead of: No, you can't go out with your friends, you have homework to do!
Try: Yes, you can see your friends when you finish your homework.


Positive Direction takes some practice, but it could be worth the time and energy.


Now, move along....

28 comments:

Ian Lidster said...

Yes indeed, Deb, the power of negative thinking is just as evocative as postive thinking, but in the other direction. Good stuff. Especially poignant for me since I havce gone back addictions counseling on a part-time basis. An important point for me to remember. You're such a peach.

Tha BossMack TopSoil said...

I Love this post Deb, I do this all tha time to folks.

Deb said...

Dear Ian,
Positive uplift phrases always do better than negative. Honey vs. Vinegar, right? And you're a plum!

Dear Bossmack,
Wow, that's great.

~Deb

MYSTI said...

Good post. I have tried this with my sons, works with one, the other well...... lets just say some teens are more stubborn then others and wont like any answer that differs from theirs, no matter how positive you say things. :)

The Lone Beader said...

I'm all about spreading positivity through my beadwork & blog posts! :D

Scott said...

Hahahahaha! Jedi mind tricks work on kids? Wait until a kid says, "What do you think you are; some kind of Jedi? Waving your hands around like that? I'm your kid--mind tricks don't work on me. Only allowance!"

traci said...

I couldn't believe the difference when I learned to do this with my children when they were younger. Great info as usual Deb.

Scott Becker said...

Great post Deb, I have had depression all of my life but have been recovering for the last year and am doing well. Amongst other things I find the words that we use to be so important towards the way we perceive things. One example is I no longer use the word "problem", I now use the word "challenge". By doing this the situation takes on a different outlook. Thanks for the post!

Scott Becker

Fallen Angels said...

I can see how this would be helpful with kids...also with my own internal diologue!

I have adopted a "Yodaism" for my speech class...
Try not. Do, or do not. I love that, and it is working well for that particular class!

Nancy said...

Some more great advice, I was sort of a 'tell my kids what to do' or a 'you should do' type of parent. It worked great for my daughter (the 1st) but with my son it backfired 99% of the time. When he was about 16 I finally figured it out. Now I tell them how I would handle things but they were/are responsible for their own actions. It has helped build the great relationships I have with my 20 and 21 y/o now. If there was only a manual when the kids were young.

Anonymous said...

When my daughter was growing up, I tried to remember to say things in a more positive way, just like your examples. I didn't always remember to do this, but at least I tried :) I really think that a positive spin can make a real difference in responses.

Donna

Jade said...

Positive Direction is used DAILY with my clients with autism. Especially since they have the tendency of repeating what they hear. So its better to speak in a way in which appropriate for them to speak. It also helps to limit their behaviors and noncompliance's. Great info Deb. Thanks for sharing.

Saur♥Kraut said...

I used to teach this style in a Management Skills class (Masters Level) at a major college here. I find it to be HIGHLY effective. But you have to work on retraining yourself to communicate that way.

Deb said...

Dear Mysti,
As with all things, sometimes they work, other times they don't.

Dear Lone,
Your beading makes me smile and feel positive every time I visit.

Dear SCott,
I remember learning Positive Direction and telling my teacher that it sounded so much like "The Force". He laughed and agreed.

Dear Traci,
I have found it to work well with my family. Especially with my hubby. "Please put the seat back down" is a bathroom winner.

Dear Scott,
I do think words have powerful effects on us. And how we heal.

Dear Fallen,
I also use this approach for my own internal dialogue. Sometimes it helps me to bypass a bad behavior - usually involving chocolate.

Dear Nancy,
As Mysti mentioned above, sometimes things work with kids and then other times they don't. The best parent we can be is the one who keeps trying to find out how to teach and reach their kids.

Dear Donna,
I strongly believe AND see that every little bit helps. No one is perfect, but trying is what it's all about.

Dear JAde,
Yes, especially a person with a developmental disorder. The repetitive style makes Positive Direction more effective. It takes practice to use it. I still flub it from time to time ;)

Dear Saurkraut,
I took a class in Positive Direction in grad school too!! It can be effective. Not a guarantee, but a good solid chance of getting someone to be more cooperative.

~Deb

therapydoc said...

Well said. The more hypnotic, the better, Obi Wan.

ellesu said...

I like this! It works on academic tests, too. We tend to overlook the negative words on test questions. ....Or so I've been told.

jumpinginpuddles said...

negative thinking is dangerous but.... its also the ahrdest to get rid of once it starts to seep in, one negative word outweighs for us a million positive it is soemthing we are working on in our therapy this year. Along with not taking other peopels negative things on us as ours to own when it might be their transferance instead onto us

S'onnie said...

It can be hard to use positive direction but I have found that it is immensley rewarding as children particularly respond incredibly well. I know when we were redirecting a child who was doing things that were "naugty" we would use positive words to move the childs attention to another topic and then when that was done we were able to talk about what they could do instead

OHN said...

I have always tried to talk to my kids like that. It completely un-nerves me to hear a parent in a store screaming at their kids to "shut up" and other derogatory comments. From the time my boys were little they knew by a look from me if they were getting too out of control and if they backed off a bit, it was always met by a smile. They certainly are/were not angels but they have learned to find the positive in any situation and I think it is because that is how they were taught from the time they were small. You know the old , "make lemonade out of lemons" way of looking at things :)

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alan said...

Working somewhere that usually only deals in negatives, I've always tried to work it the opposite way...

Perhaps why what little hair I have left is gray, but at least I can feel good about my effort!

alan

Deb said...

Dear Therapydoc,
LOL!

Dear Ellesu,
I think using such language in test writing could make test performance better!

Dear JIP,
Negative is bad!

Dear S'Onnie,
It is hard to re-train to talk like that. But maybe if we can do it now, we can raise positive speaking and thinking children!

Dear OHN,
I knnow. I cringe when I hear such things too.

Dear PJ Mpmmy,
I thought it might fit, so thanks for including it in the carnival.

Dear Mel,
I refrain from subsribing to feeds as it too much for me to manage. Thank you, though, for the invitation.

Dear Alan,
You are so amazing. Maybe that is one of the keys (pun intended) that helped you endure in the job so well and so long.

Alison said...

Deb, This is such good stuff isn't it. Easy to work with. Great post, thanks.

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Gary R. Schor said...

This post goes right along with high-level customer service training. In the world's finest resorts and restaurants, employees are trained to never use negative words like "can't, won't, and don't". Rather it is always taught that the customer should be offered available options in a positive matter, accentuating what can be done, not what can't.

But that Obi-Wan was such a smooth talker :)

Kimberly said...

Hi Deb, This is a very thought-provoking post. Do you have any book recommendations for Positive Direction in communication? It's not something that I am familiar with, but I think it is a very valuable skill to learn.

I try to practice awareness as I communicate with others, but would love to read more about these ideas. Cheers!