By Julian Azzopardi, CEO, Up your Level

I love language and I recall even the first time I really fell in love with it.

How I fell in love with language

I was given a book by my friend Giles as a companion of a trip I was going to take. The book was The Mother Tongue, by Bill Bryson.

It was witty, fun and made a lot of sense.

I was never a book worm before that, but built a strong relationship with books ever since.

However, it was only (relatively) recently that I understood the distinction between books, literature and language. 

Not every book is great. Not every piece of literature is engaging. Not all language connects.

Please don’t judge me, but it was a revelation to me.

Today, I carry that thought with me everywhere I go. Whether I’m speaking to my mother, cajoling my partner, or discussing with a client, language takes centre stage.

There is a very simple reason for this.

“Conversations have the power to change the brain”.

Judith E. Glazer

As Judith E. Glazer, the author of Conversational Intelligence writes, “conversations have the power to change the brain”. It’s called Gene editing.

Conversations, and the language used therein, have the power to influence and change the way our brain is wired thanks to the experiential connection language has with what we want to achieve. Meaningful conversations are those that lead us to feel we are in a better place. What that does is it releases dopamine, and serotonin in our systems which, as neurotransmitters literally propel us to behave differently.

Think of yourselves as your pets

Every time you do something correctly, you get a treat. That rewarding process propels you to continue behaving in that way to get more rewards. Language has the exact same power.

As leaders, the language you use and the conversations you have, can be the dopamine reward your employees are seeking to perform. Conversely, it can elicit feelings of insecurity, a threat, and further reason to not engage, resist or fight.

Think of the language you use with yourself and others

Positive language not only boosts your colleagues’ morale, but it gets you going too. If you want to bring about change, change the way you are currently doing things. Einstein said Insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. If you do not like the results, your team, your business are achieving, then change the way you do things.

Start by changing your language

This will change the way you think. This will change the way you act and behave. Ultimately a change in behaviour is going to bring about a change in results.

It is no perfect science that is true. But nor is language perfect. 

So keep trying until you achieve the results you want.

And if you don’t we are here to help.

If you are interested in raising the level of conversations to improve communication at work, ask for details on our Conversational Intelligence (C-IQ) and Mindful Communication Team Workshops.