LANGUAGE – A WEAPON OR A TOOL –
Depending on our choice of words, we can evoke positive or negative images with our language and in this way determine what effect we have on society. Find out more about the effects of the language you use and whether these are in line with your objectives.
White board or similar, a computer with a connection to the Internet. The exercise can only be done digitally.
WHY THIS TOOL?
The words and terms that we use in our internal communication influence our own (conscious and subconscious) perception and the way we approach our objectives in our project. In external communication, our terms describe our realities: they make people, needs and (her:his)stories visible – or UNvisible. These terms influence the external perception of our topic and of our target group, and therefore affect our impact.
To communicate effectively, it is helpful to answer the following question: What do we actually wish to achieve with our message? What assumptions does our audience already have about our field of work, and do we wish to reinforce or challenge these assumptions with our language?
What influence does our language have?
Work as a team to collect the most common terms that you use in your internal and external communication to describe your project and your target group(s).
Discuss as a team what assumptions and images you would like to evoke in the minds of your audience (a target group, volunteers, partners, society as a whole). What should your audience think about when they think of your project, of your target group, of migration, of inclusion?
Sit down together as a team and enter the terms into Google Image Search .
Discuss the results as a team. How do they influence the success of your project objective? What kind of inclusion understanding do you promote?
SPECIAL TIP:CHANGING THE LANGUAGE AND INVENTING NEW TERMS
If you are not satisfied with a result, you can work within the team or in cooperation with potential participants to come up with and try out new terms. Creativity and courage are your best friends here. In fact, playing with words and inventing new terms is a lot of fun. In this way, you can challenge power dynamics and reduce the odds of evoking counter-productive assumptions or images in your audience due to the use of certain terms.