Sharing and building Solution Focused practice in organisations

In describing situations clients often use adjectives. But these are - in itself - relative judgements, meaning they also refer to a positioning on an implicit scale in themselves.

I wonder, what would happen when we would ask "in comparison to what?" whenever our client utters an adjective?

It may be a simple tool to engage them in revealing their implicit frame of reference (their zeroes and their tens). The advantage would be that you can link it directly to something they've uttered (without an elaborat introduction).

I'd like to have your opinions about this? Does anyone have the experience of using the "in comparison to what" question with simple adjectives (not just comparatives or superlatives)?

Kind regards, Hannes

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Hi Hannes,
I believe the "in comparison to what?" is a classic NLP question that is part of the "meta-model" structure.
The meta-model addresses ways in which language can be confusing, in this case because a referential index has been unspecified or deleted from the communication.
Nothing new for Wittgenstein's fans, but hey NLPers love big words! :)

I agree with you, a scale can be a useful way to make this concept even clearer.

Thanks Paolo.

Not a Wittgenstein fan as such, maybe I should catch up with his writings though (although the shelves 'to read' are already poking my eyes out :)).

What's the deal with NLPers and big words? Fill me in. :)
Hi Hannes
Not a Wittgenstein fan as such, you can catch up with his ideas probably in Bucharest at the SOL conference - not he himself but from those who still alive VERY GOOD ONES will discusse his ideas from an SF angle.
And: it happens to me sometimes that I ask clients to describe what they are talking about when they use the adjective ‘positive’. I tell them, I want to have a more specific picture, I would like to see, in which relation they put this issue that they say positive.
I must confess I can’t imagine your idea of scaling in case of other adjectives. Do you have an example when you did this?
In case of comparatives I sometimes ask skaling question, yes, and I recognize, it’s not what you are asking about :) )
Hi KAtalin, thanks for the invitation. Going to check out whether Bucharest is an option later this week. Certainly looks promising.

I don't have an example yet, but I will post one later on. One set-up I have in mind is when somebody says "that's a good idea". Good in comparison to? Or "that's boring", boring in comparison to? etc... Will get back soon.

Thanks for the reply and the input. Have a great Christmas and a inspirational New Year.
Hi Hannes!

hey, you do not just "read" Wittgenstein - you savor it! :) But you can appreciate him the most if you got trapped in language, like I was as a student of philosophy. Let's put it this way: you are healthy, you take an aspirin... can you appreciate its effects? Guess not. But if you are sicky... well, then you can appreciate the aspirin!

Re NLPers and big words, what I mean has been masterfully expressed by Mark McKergow in this article:
Hint: it has to do with Occam's razor :)






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