Making workshops more fun: lessons from the body

The body thinks in metaphor, as scientists are now discovering. And that suggests all kinds of fantastic opportunities to make workshops, seminars and meetings much more fun and effective. Here’s an idea that may be familiar if you work in an Agile software development environment: take the chairs away. The fact that people literally stand…

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Grasping embodied cognition: how we use our bodies to think

Why do we look up to those we respect, stoop to the level of those we disdain and think warmly about those we love? Why do we hide dirty secrets or wash our hands of worries? Why do we ponder weighty subjects and feel a load lift after we have made a decision? Why do…

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How new words are born

New words are being created at an astonishing rate at the moment – or so it seems from here. In the last week, I’ve spotted three interesting ones in my inbox: Andrew Cain introduced Fixititis. He says it happens when patients expect the doctor to fix everything for them – and the caring doctor feels…

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Preposterous adjectives

Which part of language carries the most judgement? Adjectives, according to Simon Heffer, editor of the Daily Telegraph. As a Clean Language enthusiast I’ve thought a lot about how to be as non-judgemental as possible in questioning, and as a news reporter and editor I was passionate about sticking to the facts as far as…

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Why do persuaders love metaphor?

I love compelling metaphors. I love the way they can inspire and motivate me, tugging directly at my heartstrings and firing up strong emotions to energise my action. Because of this I often pass them on through Facebook and Twitter – and others love them too. Listen to this metaphor-dense passage from Martin Luther King (thanks…

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Elephants at IKEA

We went to IKEA yesterday. As well as a carful of storage solutions, the trip provided a great opportunity to examine how the Swedish furniture giant encourages people to spend. I’m old enough to remember when Ikea first opened up in Britain, and completely changed the context in which we did our furniture shopping by using…

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Frame control – the power of context

Great influencers have long recognised the power of setting the context of any conversation. For example, pick-up artists discuss “frame control” and assert that “In an interaction between two people, whoever has the stronger frame/reality wins”. Of course, I don’t accept their win-lose frame! Influential interactions can be, and in my opinion should be, win-win, especially…

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Downhill all the way

I was lucky enough to have a fabulously smooth journey just before Christmas. It was “downhill all the way” from North Yorkshire to London, in a van filled with my husband’s and stepson’s possessions as they finally moved their stuff in with me, six months after our wedding. If you’re based in the UK you’ll…

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