If you are having a private conversation in business life sometimes, then you are holding back with emotions as much as you can. It saves you a lot of time and thematic detour. You know this for sure when discussing a matter and suddenly many other topics appear in a conversation. And in the end, no one knows what the actual topic of the conversation was.
But why is that? That happens when emotions come into the discussion. When your opposite praises, attacks, condemns, loves, blames or feels touched by other emotions. Or you yourself. In a personal conversation you may be able to react quickly. But in e-mails or other written messaging it is much more complicated.
Let's look at which emotions we can create with our words. One of the most well-known projects on this topic is the project Magellan. It is an international research project for measuring linguistically induced emotions. The point is to measure the feeling associations for the most common terms of different languages. But not only the terms we use in our language also on which level we touch our interlocutor or he touches us.
The psychologist Charles E. Osgood researched the so-called affective connotations in more than 20 different languages and cultures in the 50s and 60s. It's about the feelings that are connected with words.
The three levels of our feelings.
Valence: It is important if an emotion is pleasant or unpleasant. Do we feel attracted or rather repelled by something? Is my conversational person sympathetic or not. Or do I have a negative feeling and do not want to talk to the person that much?
Potency: The second aspect of our emotions is something like weakness or strength. For example, fear is a weak or debilitating feeling, anger is a feeling that strengthens us. When we talk to somebody or have written communication, our subconscious mind always asks ourselves how we control the situation and whether we have everything under control during the conversation. Therefore, unconsciously, we always ask the question, is the other one superior to me, do we meet "at eye level", or am I perhaps even stronger?
Arousal: As a third level, we distinguish feelings based on how much arousal (or "activation") is associated with them. For example, the feeling of "contentment" is something very relaxed, while the emotions we have when we are "excited" about something is full of energy. It is believed that from the biological point of view behind these emotional dimensions probably the responsiveness of our system to fight or flight is. Our subconscious questions with each moment and every emotion whether we need to react quickly, or whether we can stay relaxed.
But now we come to the words and the language with which we can evoke or control the emotions. The most extensive exploration of this topic was the Magellan project. Data on linguistic sensations has been collected worldwide in various languages and cultures. All of this data is aggregated into a large database at Indiana University, so that comparative culture studies based on the emotional structure of the language are possible.
It has been found to make it easier to show that the language and its meaning differ between members of different social milieus. However, whether speech and some evoke different emotional sensations at the same words, they all have the same dimensions of a so-called "emotional space". Fear, anger, sadness and joy.
To understand our emotions triggered by words, the Magellan project divides it into three phrases. Valence is the group that causes pleasant or unpleasant feelings. The word group of potency triggers feelings of power or weakness. And the third phrase is the arousal. This phrase triggers vivid feelings or tranquility.
Are you curious what words are those? Here some examples.
VALENCE FEELINGS (uncomfortable / pleasant)
baby, houseman, schoolboy, acquaintance, saint, adopt, relieve, laugh, medically, treat, compensate, amuse, content, generous, brave, enthusiastic, good natured, spirited, persistent, ....
braggart, crybaby, scrounger, defendant, backbencher, weakling, taunting, terrifying, overwhelming, screaming, stabbing, interrupting, arrogant, hard-hearted, upset, bossy, authoritarian, hotheaded, anxious, cocky, ...
POTENTIAL FEELING (power / weakness)
Words that trigger the feeling of power
Deputy, debt collector, politician, head of department, scholar, police, dressing up, discussing, marrying, tinkering, dominate, generous, proud, good-natured, quarrelsome, hard-hearted, strict, cheerful, brave, bossy, spirited, warm, tolerant, ...
These words trigger the feeling of weakness
Indicator, victim, suppress, defendant, patient, undermine, employee, patient, despise, unemployed, pessimist, kidding, poor, intern, losing, Asian, intern, neglect, antisocial, princess, anxious, old, attuned, apathetic, humble , dumb, solitary, unimaginative, lonely, tender, disappointed, unreal, lazy, cowardly, feminine, obedient, joyless, timid, thoughtless, ...
EXCITATION FEELINGS (Lively / Rest)
Words that trigger lively emotions in us
worker, artisan, batsman, employer, hero, slut, asshole, high_blood, schoolboy, athlete, interviewer, schoolgirl, babe, boy, attacking, talking, bitching_, grinning, talking shop, sleeping_with, stopping, catching, turning on, amused, greedy, impatient, disgusted, grumpy, uncouth, disgusted, cruel, inaccurate, courageous, ambitious, edgy, jealous, open, eager, offensive, resourceful, optimistic, emotional, original, hardworking, keen, french, self confident, insolent, unscrupulous, ...
Words that cause silence
Disadvantaged, reservist, like, beggar, judge, spy, librarian, weakling, respect, office worker, spy, appreciate, bureaucrat, evening_food_, neglect, mind_to_, bow_to_, analyze, conspire_to_, gawk, conciliatory_, smile, hide_for, attract, wait_up , Modest, Suspicious, Soft-hearted, Worried, Compassionate, Wise, Thankful, Discouraged, Benevolent, Humble, Complacent, contrite, Depressed, Negligent, Delicate, Distant, Tolerant, Complacent,…
In order to train your knowledge of the words and what emotions they trigger now, I propose the following. Search your own verbal and written language for the emotional impact of the words you use. So you may recognize why you were successful in one case and not in the other. Make sure you make your statement in a way that they leave a positive emotional balance to your conversation partner.
"What do we mean by liberation?
The victory over our emotions. "
© Dalai Lama (born 1935), (Tenzin Gyatso, 14th spiritual and political leader of the Tibetans) was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989.