2.1 Really Using Clean Language

Tips For Getting Started

Times NOT To Use Clean Language

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  • Barry Cooper says:

    I couldn’t get the top video to play in Firefox, but it works in Chrome.

  • Judy Rees says:

    Thanks Barry, I’ll investigate. Apparently this may be helped by clearing the cache and updating Flash.

  • Kim Harvey says:

    I use the questions with my 9 year old son without him noticing any significant change in my tone or general demeanor and find they give a much richer content in his explanations and descriptions of how things are for him generally. They are kind of a bonus and add an additional bond for our relationship…..because they seem so easy and natural.

  • Paul Dunn says:

    I enjoy metaphor – even before I knew it might have this title. Back in 1994 I was going to a meeting with two people who were clearking blocking each other and had come to a stalemate. I arranged the meeting and made two name plates: one saying Philip “the tiger” Taylor and one Kris “the bear” Williams. I gave them to them at the start of the meeting and said “so tht we are all clear”. Something happened and we redefined the problem, all became clear and we were out of the meeting in around 20minutes.

    The names are changed to protect the not so innocent!

    I thought this might be a good example of using metaphor in a direct way. I think on the day it worked because it showed them both that they were being recognised as two strong characters but we needed to move beyond that.

  • Greg Turner says:

    In the 2 Jedi questions, what is the significance of the words that are within parenthesis?

  • Judy Rees says:

    Thanks for your comments, Kim and Paul.

    Excellent question, Greg. The words in brackets are optional, providing slight variations to the question.

    So, “What kind of X (is that X)?” can be used either as “What kind of X?” or “What kind of X is that?” or “What kind of X is *that* X?”

    In this last version, the word “that” is emphasised, to distinguish between different items with similar names. So if a person has been talking about various directions they might take, and a new direction emerges, I might ask, “What kind of direction is *that* direction?”

    With “Is there anything else about X?” alternatives are “Is there anything else about that?” or “Is there anything else about *that* X?”

  • Susan Saunders says:

    Since reading Clean Language for the first time last year I’ve been using these 2 questions more and more. Useful when on the telephone too with the challenge of staying quiet when there is silence at the other end!

  • I’ll start using it in about 5 minutes!

  • jane dring says:

    I love the response I get when I ask “What kind of X is….” So simple yet so effective!
    I’ve been dipping in and out of your book for months now, as I’m extemely visual, these videos are great
    Thanks Judy

  • Jane, I can’t resist asking: “What kind of response is that response?”

  • jane dring says:

    Sure, that response is a Specific, Clear, response Judy

  • Hob Goblin says:

    Thank you for providing all of this for free.
    After the WKO question, and their reply, how to ask the next and subsequent questions without asking the same thing, and starting to sound strange, maybe off-putting in a normal conversation?

  • judy rees says:

    Hi Hob Goblin, good question!

    To get comfortable with asking several questions in a “string”, you might like to start by practising in a context where that behaviour is absolutely expected. For example, when looking at a menu, ask: “What kind of soup is the soup of the day? What kind of vegetables are the seasonal vegetables? And what kind of cabbage is that?”

    As you imagine yourself doing this, notice the kind of voice tone you’d use: probably curious and reflective (because you’re busy thinking what to eat), not aggressive or demanding.

    That’s the voice tone you’re aiming for, pretty much whenever you begin to ask Clean Language questions.

    Also notice how the waitress responds. She’s not upset to be asked questions. She’s probably even pleased: it means you’re interested in the food. Just limit yourself to two or three questions in a string – which is what I’d recommend in conversation, at least to begin with.

    In a coaching context, you’d literally use the Clean Language questions and nothing else. But in everyday conversation, it’s great to use “softeners” such as “I’m curious…”, “I wonder…”, “Do you mind if I ask…” or (between questions) “I see…”, “Can I just check…” etc.

    The truth is that most people are not really paying much attention to your words, certainly not enough to notice that you use the same phrases regularly. If you demonstrate that you’re interested in what they are saying, they’re delighted – and are happy to keep talking as long as you stay interested.

  • Hob Goblin says:

    Thank you, loads to work with there 🙂