The language we use has an impact on the culture in which we work. In other words – words create worlds. Therefore, the words we choose, our manner of speech, our unspoken communication all carry significance in terms of creating present and future realities, and reframing past ones. Within My Home Life we recognise the potential of language to inspire and motivate, and so we are continually curious to notice language that people use that seems respectful and other language that could be notched up or developed to better reflect the culture we want to create. This means that it is not about getting it ‘correct’ all the time; we are striving to be authentic in what we say, and are open to working with others to together find ways of communicating which help builds relationships.
Language posters are used as a way of capturing language that we have noticed we like, as well as language that we would like to work with others to ‘notch up’ or develop further. One example is where the term ‘wanderer’ was used, a member of care staff saw the person rather than a label and instead used the phrase ‘a lady who likes to be on the move a lot of the time’.
To echo back the words that someone else has used can be a powerful way to convey careful listening, and may help the person to feel heard. To play around with the way in which you use the words the person has said may help to gently challenge, or be positively provocative which can bring about new insights. The Flippin’ Language resource below offers some suggestions. Included in this are a number of ways in which you might ‘flip’ language.
When creating language posters we aim to be playful and sensitive in our approach, it may be helpful to use the 7 C’s in our conversations with others when we are exploring how we might like to adapt our language to better fit with our values.
The Where and When
- Noticing language during staff handovers and playing around to add to language posters
- Meetings with residents/clients/people who use services/relatives
- In the moment- being mindful of language during day-to-day interactions and adding examples to language posters from these conversation
Resources to download