An emotional “word picture” is a communication skill that brings to life the thoughts we want to share. It uses a story or object to simultaneously activate the emotions and intellect of another person. It causes them to experience our words, not just hear them.
Five Reasons to Use Emotional Word Pictures:
- Word pictures have the power to dramatically change lives. When someone hears a word picture, a theater of the mind is created. It is like inviting a person to mentally take a journey that will exercise their intellect, emotion and will. Researchers tell us that a significant emotional event is at the heart of a changed life.
- Word pictures tap into a person’s heart and motivate that change.
- Word pictures grab and direct a person’s attention.
- Word pictures paint vivid images on the canvas of our mind; they capture our imagination and powerfully persuade us to think, feel, and act in a certain way.
- Word pictures bring our communication to life.
A word picture has the power to physically affect another person. When they experience a picture of an event, real or imaginary, it gets their five senses involved to almost the same degree as it were real life. Word pictures lock our words into another person’s memory.
Researchers have shown that people remember word pictures far longer and much more vividly. Word pictures provide the gateway to intimacy. Men and women speak different languages. Word pictures act like an interpreter and create a language of love that fosters intimacy.
Six Steps to Creating and Sharing an Emotional Word Picture:
- Choose one of four ways to enrich your relationship. Do you want to… Clarify your thoughts and feelings? Move to a deeper level of intimacy? Praise and encourage someone? Lovingly correct someone?
- Become a student of the other person’s interest(s).
- Draw a word picture from one of the four inexhaustible wells(i.e. nature; everyday objects; imaginary stories; “remember when”)
- Practice your word picture with a friend. Practice will help you gain confidence and additional insight.
- Pick a convenient time with minimum distractions. The right atmosphere coupled with the right word picture will triple the dividends.
- Be persistent in sharing word pictures. It may take more than one attempt to get our message across.
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