Word Pictures

Gary Smalley has termed "Word Pictures" as the language of love.  In his book, co-authored with John Trent, entitled The Language of Love, many keys for successful communication are given.  I recommend this book for all communication, not just love.  The following is a short take on what is in the book.

People have minds that form pictures from words spoken.  If I describe my car to you, you will form some image of the car.  You will not likely see the words, just the picture.  The more detail I give you about the car, the clearer will be your image of the car.  Communication of feelings is more difficult than cars.

To communicate your feeling, you need to visualize what you feel.  If I say I am hurt, that is too broad a term to give a vision and will likely go to the last hurt you felt.  However, if I describe it as a hurt like a mosquito bite on the back of my hand, you can see that.  If you have been bitten by a mosquito, you know the pain well.  For me it is just a little prick.  For others, it can be very painful and itchy.  A picture forms as I get more detailed.  If I say my hurt is like being hit by a 18-wheel truck going 70 miles per hour while I am standing in the median of a four-lane, a very different picture forms in you mind.  These are extremes but make the point.

To draw a word picture follow these guidelines:

1.  Make sure your description will form from the other person's experience.  If you describe the feeling in terms they cannot understand, the communication is futile.

2.  Visualize your description before you start speaking.

3.  Tell them what you see in your mind without casting blame.  Blame will change the vision to other things like defensiveness.

4.  Allow them to give some feedback and if they did not see what you saw, try again until it clarifies for them.

What they need is to see inside your mind so they can feel some of what you feel.  When the other person can feel your feeling, they may stop what they are doing to make you feel that way.  This also works for positive feelings and they may continue to do what they now understand makes you feel good.

This is a very short take on a good topic.  Buy the book, it helps to be able to communicate the whole thought.  You are loving the other person when you help them form the whole thought.