I went to lunch today at a place I had not been to in nearly a year. It is basically a giant soup and salad bar. Good for lunch, quick and healthy food. I remembered it to be a nice place with a nice atmosphere. That’s not the impression I got today.
When I entered the restaurant, I saw signs “Do Not Enter This Door.” Then inside at the salad bar “Do Not Waste Food,” and then over at the drink station “Do Not Spill Your Drink.” This was further evident in the menu which had a little jab at meat eaters, “don’t eat meat, save the planet.”
So many signs about what I shouldn’t be doing while in there, it really took away from the atmosphere, sort of like eating in a strict school cafeteria, rather than a restaurant in a trendy part of town. One guy in my group couldn’t wait to get out of there; he actually got up and left early. He said he just didn’t like the feel of the place.
The way in which we phrase things, is very important, negative phrases typically are not ideal because they invoke negative reactions. They could have put up signs like “Please Use Other Door,” or “Thank You for Helping the Planet and Eating All the Food on Your Plate.” Something more positive and up lifting, rather than don’t do this or that. After all, you don’t want a down and pushy tone directed at you while eating or paying for something.
When you use negative wording, you are actually encouraging people to be on the look out and have an eye for being picky about little things they will deem not to like. So it actually is in your interest to focus on positive wording of phrases.