Words Have Power

mindset nlp Nov 12, 2023

The 'L' in NLP stands for language and it is an exciting part of the NLP tool-kit.  The reason is that the language we use with ourselves, you know that internal voice you use, can either motivate you or hold you back from getting what you want.  There is a big difference to saying to yourself 'My life is a battle ground' and 'I know I can get through this'.  One keeps us stuck the other helps us to keep moving forwards. 

I know words matter so I was delighted to find this research described recently in an article in The Times.  Researchers from Oxford University listened to 246 recordings of conversations between doctors and patients, from 38 GP surgeries in England. They identified three different communication approaches GPs used while offering obese patients the chance to sign up to a free 12-week weight-loss course.

The “good news” approach focused on the benefits and presented the programme as an “opportunity”, with very little mention of obesity, body mass index or weight.

The “bad news” approach emphasised the “problem” of obesity — with medics speaking pessimistically about the health damage caused by being overweight.

The “neutral” news delivery, the most commonly observed, lacked either positive or negative features.

Those in the good news group lost half a stone more, on average, after one year, compared with those in the neutral or bad news groups.  Eighty-three per cent of them enrolled on to the course, compared with just half of those offered it in a “neutral” way.  Dr Charlotte Albury, the lead author of the study, from Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, said: “What we found was that when doctors framed the conversation as ‘good news’ — emphasising the benefits and opportunities of weight loss in a positive manner — patients were more likely to enrol in a weight loss programme, attend more sessions and, importantly, lose more weight compared to a neutral or negative framing. The study is the first of its kind to examine the way that language can boost weight loss efforts and is likely to be implemented into NHS guidance.  

Focusing on what you want to achieve as opposed to focusing on what you don't want is something we have at the very heart of NLP.  Start noticing what you say to yourself and to others from now on.  Is it helping or hindering your progress? 

If you'd like to know more about NLP download our free online Introduction to NLP today:

Free Online Introduction to NLP

Have a great week.

Lindsey and all at Team NLP