Ever wondered how some people are so much more influential than others? Are their ideas so much better?
Often though, it is their message about the idea that is the key to their influence. The words they have chosen create a specific, desired perception in the mind of their audience. It’s no accidental influence, but rather great message design.
OK, so you have a great idea too. It’s a great idea that could really help your business and customers.
Make sure you choose the right words to convey your message most persuasively.
Firstly, know that your words create perceptions about you and your idea in the minds of others. These perceptions may, or may not, be what you intended to convey.
Secondly, know that your choice of words also affect how you perceive yourself.
It’s all in your words.
A. Want to convey more action and dynamism?
Then say ‘AND’ instead of ‘but’
If you say a sentence which has ‘but’ as the linking word, people tend to remember the bit you said after the ‘but’.
- For example, “we need to take this action, but it will be hard to do.” This is often interpreted by others as you saying the action is impossible, so don’t even bother starting.
- Instead consider: "we need to take this action and it will be hard to do.” The word swap implies that the action will be done, not avoided.
- Firm action will result. Determination to achieve has been demonstrated.
B. Want to get more actually done?
Then use ‘WANT TO’ instead of 'have to'
Next time you are about to say "I have to" in your mind, or out loud, change it to ‘I want to..’.
We all make choices every day and each choice has a consequence. So, consider instead the consequence that you are choosing rather than the action.
- “I have to go to the gym” (implying it’s a chore) changes to “I want to go to the gym” with the recognition that you are choosing the increased fitness or weight loss proactively, not the gym going activity itself.
C. Want to move with strength, not get caught up in a weakness?
Then focus on ‘WHY’ instead of 'what'
This is a key learning for your own motivation and influence on yourself.
- Instead of asking yourself, "Why did I get that so wrong in that meeting?" or, "Why did I fail at that?", switch to say "What can I do differently next time?" or, "What can I learn from this so I can be more successful next time?"
- Your thinking becomes optimistic and solution focused, away from pessimistic non-action.
D. Want to be more recognised for your intelligence?
Then use simple, succinct language. Ditch the complexity.
In a 2005 Journal of Applied Cognitive Psychology study, simpler is perceived as better in a reader’s judgement.
- Researchers selected a sociology dissertation abstract with numerous long words and created a "simplified" version.
- 35 Stanford undergraduates then rated the dissertation and the author's intelligence.
- The simplified version was perceived as less complex — and that author was perceived as more intelligent.
- So, before you send that next email, revisit your words to get to the essence of your message. How? Reread your draft text, then ask yourself, ‘so what I’m actually saying is….’. Write those new words down instead. Then repeat that two more times.
Now you have the nub of what you want to say. And, more importantly, your reader will value the simplicity of your message.
Which ones of these things will you try out over the next 7 days to increase your influence and get your message across more persuasively?
I’d be fascinated to hear about your results.