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Healing With Language: Tag questions

from ICIM

A "tag question" is a question tagged on to the end of a statement: It's a nice day today, isn't it? Note that when the tag has "question inflection" (voice tone up), it calls the preceding statement into question. It invites those who are listening to question the statement. When the tag is given a "statement inflection" (voice town down), it has the opposite effect. It gives the preceding statement a sense of completion and tends to preclude disagreement.

This is a wonderful technique for controlling emphasis in your communication, especially with your patients. You may want to plan and practice tag questions for situations you encounter with regularity so that you can alter your voice tone appropriately.

Avoid this: You can relax while I take your blood pressure, can't you? [tone up]
Say this: You can relax while I take your blood pressure, can't you ... [tone down]

Voice tone up on a tag question basically cancels what was said first. Voice tone down emphasizes it.

Say this: It doesn't seem to make good sense to choose a treatment that is not working just because it is covered by insurance, does it.... [tone down]
Say this: It makes good sense to choose a treatment that works, doesn't it ... [tone down]
Say this: Exploring other options just makes sense, doesn't it ... [tone down]

When you want to call something into question, use voice tone up.

Say this: You are thinking that surgery is your only option, aren't you? [tone up]

Send your questions about communication to Joel P. Bowman or Debra Basham, co-developers of SCS Matters, LLC. We will provide answers to those for you. For more information about Healing with Language: Your Key to Effective Mind-Body Communication, neurolinguistic programming, hypnosis or hypnotherapy, or about the imagine healing process, visit or more

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