It’s hard to believe that the first Harry Potter fantasy novel written by British author J. K. Rowling came out in June 1997. I remember reading the first book to my youngest son while he lay in a hospital bed.
And if you missed reading all seven books in the Harry Potter series, you might have viewed the movies when they came out in theatres starting in 2001.
This was when we all started hearing about the spells Harry Potter and his various housemates and opponents used on people and surrounding objects.
But you can also give spellbinding recognition the same way as magical spells. Read the following with extra care.
Understanding How Spells Work
In the hands of someone who has the magical powers of a wizard, pronouncing spells with exactness and forcefulness, always achieves the desired results. Said incorrectly or the wrong way, and you get entirely different or horrible outcomes.
You may recall some of Harry Potter’s spells like:
- “Accio” — the summoning charm.
- “Confundo” — used to confuse opponents.
- “Crucio” — causes opponent unbearable pain.
- “Imperio” — gives the user control over another wizard.
- “Diffindo” — severing charm. …
- “Lumos” — ignites the tip of your wand.
- “Nox” — the anti-charm for Lumos, removing the light from your wand.
For example, the Imperius curse was used by Harry when he, Ron, and Hermione broke into Gringotts bank. One goblin was about to blow their cover when Harry stops him by using a spell.
“Harry raised the hawthorn wand beneath the cloak, pointed it at the old goblin, and whispered, for the first time in his life, ‘Imperio!’
A curious sensation shot down Harry’s arm, a feeling of tingling warmth that seemed to flow from his mind, down the sinews and veins connecting him to the wand and the curse it had just cast.”
Spellbinding stuff for sure.
Understanding How Words Affect People
I first became aware of the powerful effect of words on the human mind and body when learning about kinesiology.
Kinesiology is the scientific study of human or non-human body movement. Kinesiology addresses physiological, biomechanical, and psychological dynamic principles and mechanisms of movement.
In my presentations I would have the audience suggest one of the strongest people in the room, often a male, to come forward and up on the stage. I would then ask them to raise their dominant sided arm out to the side at shoulder level. I said I would push down on their arm and all they had to do was resist me doing so. They easily kept their arm up, and I proved I wasn’t very strong.
Next, I instructed the individual to say out loud their full name, ten times. I would attempt to push their arm down. I could not do so. Then I asked them to repeat an incorrect, full name I gave them and say it ten times. I attempted to push their arm down, and this time, I could do so. It was like their body was reacting to a lie they were saying, and the processing of the brain weakened them physically.
The next part of the exercise was to say a phrase like, “I am a strong and smart individual,” ten times. Again, I tried to push their arm down afterward and I could not overcome the resistance.
I did the reverse using a negative phrase like, “I am a weak and stupid individual,” also ten times. There was no resistance to put up with and I could easily push the person’s arm down.
We would do a quick reversal to acknowledge the positive qualities of the individual and have them say positive statements ten times, and again I could not lower their arm by pushing down on it. That way we ensured the audience it wasn’t just fatigue that gave me the upper hand by weakening their arm strength.
Use The Right Spellbinding Words With Recognition
When you express recognition to people in person, or through online programs, you must use the right words to have the proper spellbinding effect on them.
Connotation and Sentiment: Words have different connotation or meaning. You see there is an associated or secondary meaning to the words we use in addition to its explicit or primary meaning. And sentiment is similar, usually meaning the attitude or feeling around a word. For example, the word “home” can mean a house where people live, and it can have a connotative meaning of a “warm and cozy place to visit.”
What’s the most common expression of recognition? If you said, “Good job!” you would be absolutely correct.
Yet, there is a problem with this expression. The word “good” on the positive-negative spectrum of connotative meaning, is actually a neutral word. “Awful” would be a negative word on the continuum and something like “amazing” would be a positive word. So, “good”, is not very spellbinding.
Then there is the word, “job.” This can mean either an actual job position or a piece of work that could be fairly routine in their occupation. It’s not clear to me by using “job” what exactly I am recognizing.
Think of it this way. If someone else hears you say “good job” to one of their peers, would they know exactly what you just recognized? No, they probably would not. And neither would the recognition recipient. They would be guessing. Again, this not spellbinding recognition.
That’s why being specific about what a person did and the difference their actions made on others is so essential. Spellbinding recognition takes more than one or two words, but make sure you go beyond using neutral words.
Put more emotional and positive words in your expression of appreciation and recognition. That’s when you will really appreciate people for who they are and recognize them for what they do.
Learn to give spellbinding recognition every day.
Recognition Reflection: Are you mindful of using positive vocabulary in your expressions of recognition?
Roy is no longer writing new content for this site (he has retired!), but you can subscribe to Engage2Excel’s blog as Engage2Excel will be taking Roy’s place writing about similar topics on employee recognition and retention, leadership and strategy.