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5 Tips for Using the Language of Creativity More Intelligently

5 Tips for Using the Language of Creativity More Intelligently

The language and words you use are powerful, and they help you set directions and goals for both yourself and the people around you. I would like to share some of my thoughts about how to foster creativity in your team and organisation. Today, all organisations need to be innovative, and creativity is relatively cheap to invest in compared with recruiting new staff, IT, buildings and other assets.

When working, I’ve observed that many teams are stuck in unproductive patterns, which results in objectives not being met due to poor communication and lack of knowledge about sharing and supporting new ideas. Staff members are hesitant to be creative and it is not the individual’s fault; it is a flaw in the culture and a lack of awareness of how creativity, ideas and innovation work.

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To use the language of creativity well you need to know how to express yourself. Here are some top tips to make the creative juices flow better:

1. Be positive about new ideas.

Say things such as: “please tell me more”, or “I like your new take on this, it sounds brilliant”. The people you speak to will automatically tell you more and the conversation will continue to flow.

2. Ask more questions.

In general ,when we ask a number of questions it makes people think, which can help you to take your idea or project to the next level.

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3. Avoid using too much jargon.

Words that are hard to define and are used all the time make people feel insecure. Many are not aware of this themselves, and they sit and agree with everyone as if they understood the problem, and the idea will not develop as well as it could.

4. Use storytelling when communicating a new idea, project or change.

We don’t like to listen to facts about why we must do something, but we love to listen to stories, so pass your message on as a tale instead.

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5. Go out for a walk to discuss your idea, problems and opportunities.

When we move our bodies, we release a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) which works as a fertiliser for our brains and helps us build new connections between our neurons and synapses. If you are walking and talking, you will be able to see new solutions more quickly, and you’ll also come back to the office feeling refreshed.

If your organisation is looking into how it can grow and reach a new market, it is likely that the ideas that come up will be out of your comfort zone. If you are not aware of how to handle new ideas, you might kill them by mistake. If you do the same thing in business year after year, that may not satisfy your customers. When growing you need to be creative in developing new solutions that keep clients coming back for more: creativity is a real business advantage and your clients will notice this when working with you.

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In most people’s day jobs, creativity is about how you create something together as a team when working on a product or project. It’s not about a single person’s artistic work—most of us are not designers, artists, or writers—although I believe that artists and writers may be better at listening to what their target market wants, and the better they are at collaboration, the more successful they will become.

Your language and behaviour will matter for everyone in your team, so raise your awareness, as it’s your team’s collective muscles that will make the change happen. If part of the team is only using some of their muscles, new ideas are not likely to grow.

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5 Tips for Using the Language of Creativity More Intelligently

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Last Updated on August 6, 2020

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

We’ve all done it. That moment when a series of words slithers from your mouth and the instant regret manifests through blushing and profuse apologies. If you could just think before you speak! It doesn’t have to be like this, and with a bit of practice, it’s actually quite easy to prevent.

“Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” – Napolean Hill

Are we speaking the same language?

My mum recently left me a note thanking me for looking after her dog. She’d signed it with “LOL.” In my world, this means “laugh out loud,” and in her world it means “lots of love.” My kids tell me things are “sick” when they’re good, and ”manck” when they’re bad (when I say “bad,” I don’t mean good!). It’s amazing that we manage to communicate at all.

When speaking, we tend to color our language with words and phrases that have become personal to us, things we’ve picked up from our friends, families and even memes from the internet. These colloquialisms become normal, and we expect the listener (or reader) to understand “what we mean.” If you really want the listener to understand your meaning, try to use words and phrases that they might use.

Am I being lazy?

When you’ve been in a relationship for a while, a strange metamorphosis takes place. People tend to become lazier in the way that they communicate with each other, with less thought for the feelings of their partner. There’s no malice intended; we just reach a “comfort zone” and know that our partners “know what we mean.”

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Here’s an exchange from Psychology Today to demonstrate what I mean:

Early in the relationship:

“Honey, I don’t want you to take this wrong, but I’m noticing that your hair is getting a little thin on top. I know guys are sensitive about losing their hair, but I don’t want someone else to embarrass you without your expecting it.”

When the relationship is established:

“Did you know that you’re losing a lot of hair on the back of your head? You’re combing it funny and it doesn’t help. Wear a baseball cap or something if you feel weird about it. Lots of guys get thin on top. It’s no big deal.”

It’s pretty clear which of these statements is more empathetic and more likely to be received well. Recognizing when we do this can be tricky, but with a little practice it becomes easy.

Have I actually got anything to say?

When I was a kid, my gran used to say to me that if I didn’t have anything good to say, I shouldn’t say anything at all. My gran couldn’t stand gossip, so this makes total sense, but you can take this statement a little further and modify it: “If you don’t have anything to say, then don’t say anything at all.”

A lot of the time, people speak to fill “uncomfortable silences,” or because they believe that saying something, anything, is better than staying quiet. It can even be a cause of anxiety for some people.

When somebody else is speaking, listen. Don’t wait to speak. Listen. Actually hear what that person is saying, think about it, and respond if necessary.

Am I painting an accurate picture?

One of the most common forms of miscommunication is the lack of a “referential index,” a type of generalization that fails to refer to specific nouns. As an example, look at these two simple phrases: “Can you pass me that?” and “Pass me that thing over there!”. How often have you said something similar?

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How is the listener supposed to know what you mean? The person that you’re talking to will start to fill in the gaps with something that may very well be completely different to what you mean. You’re thinking “pass me the salt,” but you get passed the pepper. This can be infuriating for the listener, and more importantly, can create a lack of understanding and ultimately produce conflict.

Before you speak, try to label people, places and objects in a way that it is easy for any listeners to understand.

What words am I using?

It’s well known that our use of nouns and verbs (or lack of them) gives an insight into where we grew up, our education, our thoughts and our feelings.

Less well known is that the use of pronouns offers a critical insight into how we emotionally code our sentences. James Pennebaker’s research in the 1990’s concluded that function words are important keys to someone’s psychological state and reveal much more than content words do.

Starting a sentence with “I think…” demonstrates self-focus rather than empathy with the speaker, whereas asking the speaker to elaborate or quantify what they’re saying clearly shows that you’re listening and have respect even if you disagree.

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Is the map really the territory?

Before speaking, we sometimes construct a scenario that makes us act in a way that isn’t necessarily reflective of the actual situation.

A while ago, John promised to help me out in a big way with a project that I was working on. After an initial meeting and some big promises, we put together a plan and set off on its execution. A week or so went by, and I tried to get a hold of John to see how things were going. After voice mails and emails with no reply and general silence, I tried again a week later and still got no response.

I was frustrated and started to get more than a bit vexed. The project obviously meant more to me than it did to him, and I started to construct all manner of crazy scenarios. I finally got through to John and immediately started a mild rant about making promises you can’t keep. He stopped me in my tracks with the news that his brother had died. If I’d have just thought before I spoke…

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