“No, Don’t do that”! Have you tried saying this to a child and seen the child doing precisely that. So, when I say “Do not think of the pink elephant”, I would be surprised if you have not started already picturing a pretty pink elephant.
Many presentations and training do focus on what you are not supposed to think and do.An example of this is a sales presentation of a company marketing its weight management product. The speaker started his talk with how people were losing lots of money on weight-loss products and not losing weight.
He went on to speak about how their product is the best in the market because “you will not lose your money”. What do you think the audience was hearing? They had a picture of losing their money and not losing weight.
A similar trajectory reflects in our writings. An example is “It would not be possible to complete the project without additional funds.” When we use multiple negatives in our language, it creates confusion and complicates the request, so why not merely state the phrase in the positive? Your sentences would be more explicit and shorter.
However, the power of ‘Negatives’ cannot be entirely written off. Using double negatives is a powerful tool in the language of persuasion and is useful for every presenter to master.
When you are presenting or training, leave them with what you want them to think about rather than what you don’t want to think about.
Dr Hemalatha R
NLP Transformation Coach