Clean language (30 June 2017)

At the College of Mediators’ annual conference this month, one of the workshops was a brief introduction to the use of ‘Clean Language’.

We were divided into random pairs.  One person in each pair spent 5 minutes asking the other questions about a hobby or interest.  Then we swapped roles.  Substantial information was revealed in 5 minutes about cycling (my partner’s hobby) and singing (mine).

The unusual aspect was that our trainer Trevor Horne would only permit us to use two types of question: (1) ‘and what kind of [cycling] is that [cycling]’ and (2) ‘and anything else about [cycling]’.  The questions were reused several times, eg: ‘and what kind of [cycling holiday] is that [cycling holiday]’ and ‘and anything else about [cycling holiday]’.

The two questions do not introduce any information or opinions from the questioner whatsoever.

The following book was recommended to those of us who wanted to learn more: Clean Language: Revealing Metaphors and Opening Minds by Wendy Sullivan and Judy Rees