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Deletion, Distortion & Generalisation

August 24, 2010

Watch for these language patterns over the next couple of days – especially when politicians are interviewed!



Missing things out. “I slept with him” – you slept? You mean you had sex with him? OK so this colloquiallism is perhaps for “politeness”? But what about “I met with him”? Does this not miss out so much as well? In normal conversation you may follow with curious questions! And in coaching we may also follow up these interesting deletions to reveal how you construct the situation.


Saying it as you see it! Very interesting. “The sales team are slacking” – really? They may be unsupported, or working very hard to keep head above water in the current climate, or inexperienced with the new product. But all these can often be distorted into “slacking”. Stop and think when you hear a distortion – there’s treasure in them there hills!


Applying something to everything. “I`m rubbish at tennis” – but that last set you won. And you can serve into the box? How are you defining “rubbish”? Which aspect of tennis do you want to improve? All leading to useful solutions – so listen out for them. Generalisations are easy to spot (there’s one!)

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