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Volume 5, Issue 30

October 2013 


What's your see? squeegie


When I was still writing for TV, one of my jobs was to read scripts that were submitted by agents representing writers who were looking for a freelance gig. A spec script is a sample episode of a current hit TV series and its purpose is to prove that the writer can watch a series, understand it, come up with a terrific story and then write a script that feels like it could be an episode of the show. I read some great spec scripts - I also read a lot of lousy ones and they were lousy because the writer didn't "nail" the voice of the characters. As a writer, I've always valued language. But it wasn't until I shifted careers to being a coach that I began to appreciate its power.


As a coach, I get paid to ask the right questions...and listen to how my clients respond. And like many coaches, I hold sessions with clients over the phone, which means that the words - phrases - language - they use become a primary focus. Simply by listening to specific words a client uses, I can pick up on personality type and identify character strengths and uncover their most valued channel of communication, how they prefer to interact, their level of distress and how they perceive the world.


Now I wish I could say I can do all this simply because I'm so doggone gifted. But the reality is that I introduce my clients to the Process Communication Model (PCM), originally developed for use by NASA. PCM helped NASA both choose prospective astronauts and determine how to divide them into effective teams who would work well together under the stress of being in outer space, bunched into the close quarters of a space capsule. PCM is the only language based personality and communication model that predicts human behavior, deals with what's coming at us "in the moment," and invites people out of distress so they can return to effective communication. By using PCM with clients, I help them learn how to identify their own distress behaviors, which enables them to develop a plan to replace destructive behavior with positive behavior. It's efficient...and owes its success to the power of language.


This month's see-musings honors the power of some ways that may surprise you. TYVM - B4N.  


Boldly yours,



Jennie Ayers

Senior Partner

October 2013


P.S. If you like see-musings, please pass it on to friends and colleagues. We appreciate it!


In This Issue
  • Take a Color Test - The Language of Color
  • The Power of Words
  • Is Txtng  Destroying our Language?


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BrainThe Language of Color 
Curated by Janice Criddle, Principal at BoldWork

I love wearing black. I think it's an elegant color. I don't think I'm alone. Most women have a "little black dress" as a staple in their closet. But there are times when I just don't want to wear black, days when I feel like wearing yellow or cornflower blue. The colors I decide to wear are a reflection of how I'm feeling or who I'm going to interact with and how I want to connect. We've all had the thought, "Today's meeting is going to be a difficult one. I'd better wear a power suit." I'll bet your "power suit" isn't pink.



color - box We don't usually "see" color as a form of nonverbal communication...but it is! We send out color cues and others receive and interpret them. Research confirms that different colors can evoke different moods and alter physiological reactions, judgments and interpretations. Color as nonverbal communication also extends into the corporate world. Companies invest fortunes in branding and marketing efforts and color is a big part of it. And since nonverbal communication accounts for up to 90% of how others perceive us, it is an area well worth understanding.


The Color Test


It turns out that the language of color is a growing field of research. One leader in this field is Testcolor. With over 20 years of original research, it has created a website that, among other things, "demonstrates the relevance and the precision of...rules for nonverbal communication." One method they use is a color test.


color test sample The test profiles your personality based on your color choices (these choices are nonverbal cues). This test has been scientifically validated, with more than 8,000 people. Skeptical at first, I took the test and found the results to be surprisingly accurate and thought provoking.  


Take a few minutes and take the color test yourself. It may give you some insights into how you choose what colors to wear...and change your "see" when it comes to thinking about color as nonverbal language. 

The Power of Words 
Curated by Rebecca Ripley, Principal at BoldWork


I came across a blog that made me stop in my tracks. What is the power of language? I remembered learning long ago that some Inuit cultures have over 50 words for snow. They have even more words for reindeer. David Robson reported in New Scientist (January 14, 2013), "This kind of linguistic exuberance should come as no surprise, since languages evolve to suit the ideas and needs that are most crucial to the lives of their speakers." So multiple descriptions lead to greater clarity? Maybe not. 


In Alex MacCaw's blog, The Power of Language, he talks about the fact that the majority of the world's languages don't make a distinction between the colors green and blue. As a water colorist and lover of trees and skies, that's unfathomable to me! MacCaw goes on to explore gender attributions to words and how these attributions affect our feelings toward objects around us. An Australian aboriginal tribe has no language for left and right. "Everything is referenced via directions on a compass. By embedding geographical directions into their language, speakers seemed to have an uncanny sense of direction. They always knew where true north was." When I lived in New Orleans, directions were never given in north, south, east and west. Everything was uptown, downtown, lakeside, riverside. (Due to the bend in the Mississippi River, the sun rises over the west bank, so you can understand the confusion.)


What If We Had No Language?


Lena Boroditsky, an assistant professor of psychology, neuroscience and symbolic systems at Stanford, often starts her undergraduate lectures by asking students which cognitive faculty they would most hate to lose. Almost none answer language. And yet, if we lost sight or hearing, we could still have what she calls a "wonderfully rich social existence." But what would our lives be if we never learned a language? (Remember how Helen Keller's life changed profoundly once Anne Sullivan taught her how to communicate?)


Research surrounding language proves that when we teach people a new way of speaking, we also teach them a new way of thinking. Language itself changes how we see and what we do. I'd say that's pretty powerful!





Txtng is Destroying Our Language! Don't BEYR! 
Curated by Kris Campbell, Managing Partner at BoldWork 


The first-ever text message was sent December 3, 1992 by software engineer Neil Papworth to Vodafone director Richard Javis, who received it on his husky Orbitel 901 cell phone. The message read simply, "Merry Christmas."



texting at work  











New and miraculous aspects of our modern life come on to the stage every day. We're the lucky ones, born into the grandest wave of technological advancement in human history. You and I are living "the Age" that the great science fiction writers - Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke and Robert Heinlein - could only dream of. Our time has been dubbed the Information Age, the Digital Age and, most recently, the Media Age. Its prime mover is "on-demand access to content anytime, anywhere, on any digital device, with interactive user feedback and creative participation." Whew. No wonder life feels like a blur at times.  


Our SEE of the world is constantly challenged, changing...moving on. Current technology has a two year half life, so be prepared to adapt every 730 days.


6 Billion TXTNG !


We can observe this tech phenomena every day as people clutch their SmartPhone and gaze at its small screen as their thumbs swipe and tap out an evolutionary form of modern communication - the "TEXT." And this "texting" seems to bring out the worst Luddite in people. kids texting











 So, think TEXTING is a fad?

  • In 2005, 936 billion texts were sent worldwide. In 2010, 2.3 trillion. In 2013, over 6 billion texts are sent per day in the U.S. alone.
  • A Pew study last year found that the median number of texts sent by teens (12-17) was 60 per day. Those 18-29 send 88 texts per day.
  • 80% of the U.S. population owns a mobile phone; 70% of these owners regularly send or receive texts.
  • Global carrier messaging revenues were $200 billion in 2011...and growing.

Hmmmm. Probably not a fad.


Call It Fingered Speech


Wake up! You have an amazing opportunity to "see" language in a new way, to bear witness to the evolution of this new language and new form of human communication. Linguist John McWhorter calls it "fingered speech." You may not know what IMHO means but, IMHO, I think it's high time you did. McWhorter urges us to think of email and text messages not as the scourge of the English language but as a new, evolved form of speech that exists somewhere between writing and speaking.


 McWhorter's insightful and fun TED talk (only 13 minutes) highlights his research into the modern phenomena of TXTNG. We're asked to SEE this simple behavior for the amazing, complex communication it is. And, BTW, LOL doesn't mean what you think anymore.


So, B4N and FWIW, don't BEYR. But do continue to believe in 2MORO. As Arthur C. Clarke wrote, "Something wonderful is about to happen." (2001: A Space Odyssey)



Oh, and if you're curious about the latest Textng acronyms check out the top 50 text acronyms here.

















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