Leading and Caring for Children

Guides for Enterprise Talk

A Handrail to Authenticity and Integrity

Below is a brief summary of the guides for Enterprise Talk. A full article linked on the left explains the background for these reminders. I promise that if you do this work, your life changes forever, and if you are raising your own children talking this way, they will naturally talk this way to their children. Rather than habitually blurting out their own power and authority, their first thoughts will more likely convey their calmness and connection with others. Habits often depend upon how others around you behave, so the benefits pass down through generations.

The goal is to simply communicate authentically as one person relating to another person on equal terms with integrity in accord with one’s evolving aspirations.

I invite you to consider stopping what first comes to mind and letting a bit of a gap happen. You get to decide what seems best for you in your life and live more consciously.

Three caveats are the foundation of Enterprise Talk. They provide the timely cue to pause.

NoThree Prohibitions

No directionsNo questionsNo praise

To be replaced with these options below, invented genuinely, on-the-spot. Practice over months and years.

Six Ggo-iconuides



Conveying in language what the child can perceive presently—what the child is now seeing, hearing, feeling, touching, and smelling. This is about input to the child — what the child takes in.


Putting the child’s actions in words as the child is doing it—like a sports announcer delivering play-by-play coverage of events as they occur. This is about the child’s output — what the child does.

Subjective Talk

Talking about your own actions and thoughts that relate to the child’s current situation. Most self-talk statements begin with “I…”

Non-verbal Recognition

Communicating that you notice valued behavior by facial expressions and body language; reacting especially when children take positive initiative, when they act courteously and cooperatively with each other, and when they persevere at difficulties.

Intrinsically-phrased Recognition

Highlighting naturally occurring feelings of self-worth and self-satisfaction that accompany competent and socially constructive behavior. One way to do this is to employ these four concept clusters in a comment that highlights the internal states of consciousness that may be present.

  • Enjoyment “It’s fun to do, isn’t it?”
    pleasure ~ delight ~ happiness ~ thrill ~ joy ~ amusement ~ gratification ~ good feelings ~ savor that feeling ~ pride ~ satisfaction
  • Competence “You did it!”
    success ~ mastery ~ have the know-how ~ expertise ~ accomplishment
    achievement ~ attainment ~ have the skill ~ a talent ~ knack
  • Cleverness “That’s tricky.”
    a new idea ~ unique ~ brainy ~ smart ~ intelligent ~ bright
    ~ witty ~ sharp ~ ingenious ~ quick ~ original
  • Growth and Change “You’re sure getting bigger!”
    readiness for new challenges ~ being older ~ in a new place ~ more grown-up ~ more independent ~ more self-confident

Descriptive Cue Sequence

  1. Signal: Giving a cue “It’s time to ___”, or ring a bell, or flash lights. Waiting 10 to 15 seconds, recognizing desirable actions by describing, narrating or employing non-verbal recognition. If not working, proceeding on to:
  2. Description: Describing what needs doing or where things are or go. In most cases this works, if given time and continuing recognition of what you value. “Four are in the box.” If not, proceeding on to:
  3. Modeling: You do the actions you desire while describing your own thoughts and decisions aloud. This step is most used when the desired action is unfamiliar.
  4. Direction: If, after a time, a child fails to voluntarily join the efforts, issuing a clear direction.
  5. Draw a Line: Specifying what must be complete before continuing; restricting participation in the next activity to those who have completed the desired actions.


Click for a one-page handout Enterprise Guides

Click for a one-page exercise to differentiate subjective talk from praise Subjective Praise?

Click for four-pages to cut in fourths to make 16 cards for another exercise EntTalk Cardgame

See an example of Enterprise Talk applied to Cleanup Time.

Here are wall charts to print and put up as reminders Wall Charts

The next page is the article I wrote for Lilian Katz’ retirement about Enterprise Talk.

Next Enterprise Talk: a handrail