"It's not what you say; it's how you say it".
As a teacher, I learned how to word things to my students, especially those who had emotional and behavioral issues, in such a way that would motivate them instead of frustrating them.
When I wanted them to finish their work, it was so much more effective to say, "Make sure you finish those last two problems so we can get to recess on time" instead of "You are not going to recess if you don't finish." If you are still wondering about the difference, just look at the negative words in the second scenario.
The same holds true when working with teachers. After watching a teacher teach, I might have some questions about student behavior. "Why didn't you correct his behavior?" doesn't sound nearly as motivating as "How do you make decisions about when and how to correct student behavior?"
To the huge resort chain whose representatives are trying to convince me to buy a five-night stay at your resort sometime in the next year......we are actually quite interested! However, your customer service representatives are doing a much better job of frustrating me than motivating me.
Here is a sampling of the responses I received when asking for particular dates:
"That date is not available for check-in"
"Nope, that date was just taken by someone else."
"We can't book those dates for you without a credit card."
And then....when I asked for other dates in February---more of the same:
"We can't book dates that far out."
Try it yourself----can you think of ways they could convey the same message that might motivate me with a bit of hope? How about, "Can you give me a couple of other dates that might work for you? I really want to book this for you." or how about "We can book February dates for you in about three more weeks."
What a difference a few words make.
If our goal is to motivate and not frustrate, then perhaps we should look at how we word things. I hope to be enjoying this beautiful resort in a few months, and if I happen to get the chance to share a few tips on communication with them as we book the trip, then all the better!