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Ahead of the "experts"
on 18 September 2003
Only a couple of years ago (2001), two members of the Harvard University Graduate School of Education brought out a book snappily entitled "How the Way We Talk can Change the Way we Work". It's an excellent book but it was a little strange to see it referred to by some critics as "new", and an example of "breakthrough thinking".
Because although the two books are not addressing *exactly* the same area, Ms Charvet's "Words that Change Minds", first published in 1996, can readily be seen as a precursor to the later book.
Although it is usually referred to in connection with Rodger Bailey's LAB Profile work, this book is in fact based on a subset of the "meta programs", or mental filters, first identified by Leslie Lebeau (formerly Leslie Cameron-Bandler).
What makes this book so valuable is that instead of simply describing the meta programs on a purely theoretical level (as many previous authors had done), Ms Charvet places each one in a very practical context. She tells us not only the basics of each meta program but also such practical details as:
- what questions to use to elicit a person's position on any of the meta programs discussed
- how to identify what meta program positions are best suited to a given job
- and how to frame a job or product advert so that it "speaks to" the optimum audience
There is also a wealth of anecdotes from real life that illustrate the meta programs at work - like why the US was never comfortable as members of UNESCO, why a single word undermined one of IBM's big advertising campaigns, and why a Jewish mother might recommend chicken soup because "it couldn't hurt".
And on top of all that, the book is written in an enthusiastic, flowing style that makes reading it both easy and enjoyable.
Highly recommended for *anyone* who wants to understand the practicalities of how language works.