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I am appreciating how conversations can be nourishing. Often, I’m hopeful for solution focused futures. Having started my career in the diplomatic service and later venturing into headhunting and the human capital field, I’ve learnt that choice of words can make or break conversations.

Unhelpful comments, unintentional or otherwise, can prevent conversations from moving forward:

Accusing: “You need to ask yourself if the problem is you?….

Blaming: “I did this for you..” or “because I was helping you… [negative event happened]

Globalising: “You always …. ” “You never …”

Interrogating (tone): “Why did you do this?...”

Demeaning: “You are not joking...” “Good luck to you…”

Preaching: “You should…” “When I was your age….” “When I was [doing this job],...”

Threatening: “You better ...”

Judging: “You are not interested in making this work..” “You don’t care about...”

Excusing: “Dont worry, things will get better“.

Instigating: “He said you disrespected him

Tone of voice including sarcasm or anger. Non-verbal cues like rolling of eyes or twitching of mouth or sniggering, “humph”, interrupting the flow.

“What in the world were you thinking of?”

Joanne Koo

Director, Centre for Solution Focused Futures

To nourish dreams for a sustainable future