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Sue Beatt

People Solutions (Scotland) Ltd


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Exercise in positive and negative words


Hi all

Does anyone have an exercise where delegates have to change negative words/phrases into more positive ones. It's for use in a programme about managing people



8 Responses

  1. From Somewhere In The Internet

    1) TRY SAYING: I think you could use more training.

    INSTEAD OF: You don't know what the f___ you're doing.


    2) TRY SAYING: She's an aggressive go-getter.

    INSTEAD OF: She's a ball-busting b__ch.


    3) TRY SAYING: Perhaps I can work late.

    INSTEAD OF: And when the f___ do you expect me to do this?


    4) TRY SAYING: I'm certain that isn't feasible.

    INSTEAD OF: No f______ way.


    5) TRY SAYING: Really?

    INSTEAD OF: You've got to be sh__ing me!


    6) TRY SAYING: Perhaps you should check with…

    INSTEAD OF: Tell someone who gives a s__t.


    7) TRY SAYING: I wasn't involved in the project.

    INSTEAD OF: It's not my f______ problem.


    8) TRY SAYING: That's interesting.

    INSTEAD OF: What the f___?


    9) TRY SAYING: I'm not sure this can be implemented.

    INSTEAD OF: This sh__ won't work.


    10) TRY SAYING: I'll try to schedule that.

    INSTEAD OF: Why the h_ didn't you tell me sooner?


    11) TRY SAYING: He's not familiar with the issues.

    INSTEAD OF: He's got his head up his a__.


    12) TRY SAYING: Excuse me, sir?

    INSTEAD OF: Eat sh__ and die.


    13) TRY SAYING: So you weren't happy with it?

    INSTEAD OF: Kiss my a__.


    14) TRY SAYING: I'm a bit overloaded at the moment.

    INSTEAD OF: F___ it, I'm on salary.


    15) TRY SAYING: I don't think you understand.

    INSTEAD OF: Shove it up your a__.


    16) TRY SAYING:I love a challenge.

    INSTEAD OF: This job sucks.


    17) TRY SAYING: You want me to take care of that?

    INSTEAD OF: Who the f___ died and made you boss?


    18 ) TRY SAYING: He's somewhat insensitive.

    INSTEAD OF: He's a pr_ck.

  2. Positive words and phrases suggestion

    Hi Sue, I have an activity which does what you need but can't add an attachment here.  Please drop me a note at [email protected] and I will forward you an exercise I have used for a similar requirement in a Leadership Development Programme. Regards, Gary

  3. Taboo game

    Hi Sue.

    In one of our classes we have a game similar to Taboo. Maybe you can do something like this. We use scenarios specific to our industry, but here is the set up from the lesson.


    This activity is designed to help you with choosing professional verbiage and offering plausible solutions when presented with customer service challenges. Your solutions to the scenarios cannot duplicate the verbiage of another student.  Any taboo words, duplicate solutions or time violations will cause an irate and the next agent must take over the scenario.  The scenario is deemed "problem solved" once the instructor deems that all the alternatives or verbiage has been explored.

    Each student has one minute to respond to the scenario before an irate is created. Clarifying questions may be asked at any time.

    No words from the Taboo word list may be used in any variation (i.e. can’t, can not). All solutions must be based on business decisions and have a discernable value to the company (win/win).

    Taboo Word List:










  4. I hope the cartoon comes out!



                         The manager has started out with a negative phrase……it just ain’t gonna go well thereafter!

  5. I have the class “Take a Breath”

    I use an exercise I call "Take a Breath" – it's a sheet of three columns that I hand out.  First column is a list of "trigger phrases," the second column is where the participant writes what their reflexive response is, and in the third column they write out a professional, positive response.  Some trigger phrases might be along the lines of "You said that last time, too" or "I told you that would happen" or "It's always the same thing with you – what's your problem?"….you get the idea.  They work on these individually for a few minutes, then I hit them with the trigger phrases,which I say in a pretty nasty tone.  It's a lot of fun to have them read their "gut" responses and then their "good" responses out loud.   There are also opportunities to point out that the tone and inflection contribute a great deal to the perception of the message.  It's encouraging for them to realize that there's a way to say almost anything in a non-offensive, professional, respectful manner. 

    I also provide an example of an (imaginary) email that's horribly written, unprofessional, and insulting, then assign a sentence or two to each of the small groups  (3 -4 people).  They re-write their portion, then we put them pieces back together and read out the revised, cleaned-up version.

    There have been changes in behavior as  a result of these exercises.

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Sue Beatt


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