29 Jan 2014by Georgie Cousens

Words are Powerful

Words are PowerfulI’m sure you’d agree that words are powerful. You see it first hand everyday. You can light up someone with a single word (‘wine’), or disappoint them in a heartbeat by saying ‘No!’. So the language you choose for your business documents and Powerpoint presentations need to be well thought out.

Andrew Newberg and Robert Waldman’s book Words Can Change Your Brain explores in detail the concept “12 conversation strategies to build trust, resolve conflict and increase intimacy.” Which boils down to: using the right words in the right way at the right time can “bring us love, money and respect.” Newberg and Waldman are mainly discussing the spoken word, but there is a lot of information out there about writing persuasive copy, so it makes sense to harness the power of language to maximize the impact of your documents and presentations.

So what are some powerful words to use?

You:
People want to feel special, they want to feel that you are talking directly to them. They will pay attention more if you use the word “you”. If you are presenting to a small group of people consider using first names. That will really make them listen. But be careful how you use it. It’s easily overdone and you can turn off the crowd very quickly.

Because:
Tell them why. Give them reasons to act. You want your client to buy and extra service because…. (focus on how this will make their life better or how much money/time they will save in the long run.) Make sure you cover off WIIFM – Whats In It For Me –  because that’s all they care about.

Free:
Can’t argue with a classic. Everyone loves something free, and people are more inclined to listen if they think they are getting something for nothing. But again be thoughtful with it’s use, throw this baby around too much and you will sound like an infomercial, and who likes them?

Instantly:
Instant gratification anyone? We sit up and take notice when we know something will happen quickly.  “Instant download”, “fast coffee”, “same day delivery”, “immediate service” – this is how we live our day-to-day lives and our clients expect the same from us. Make sure you can back up these claims, otherwise your clients will lose faith in you.

New:
We all love new. New clothes, new cars, new TV shows. Novelty excites us, keeps us interested, so make sure you interest your clients. Bring them something new, something that will excite them, otherwise why are you bothering?

These words seem pretty harmless don’t they? But when used wisely, they can be very powerful indeed. What is your favorite ‘power word’ and how has it brought you success?

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