A SINGLE word could make ALL the difference

Apr 29, 2016

The power of words has long been understood by the ad-men, the conmen and those blessed with great penmanship. But with a little bit of thought, the tiniest hint of imagination and the knowledge that I will share in this post, you too could increase your sales, change peoples’ minds and inspire others to greater actions… simply by choosing your words more carefully.

As a writer, I enjoy playing with words and telling stories to try and touch my readers’ ears, just for fun. But when writing for business, there is often a specific result which you are looking to achieve. It may be persuading your staff to buy into a new idea, trying to sell more products, or simply making sure some important information is clearly understood. Whatever your motivation, here is a powerful and highly practical tool that you can use to make your words work harder and give your efforts a much greater reward.


It’s all downhill from here on in…

It is all to do with the North-South divide. In an experiment, a group of people were asked to estimate how much it would cost to send a particular package from London to Edinburgh. Meanwhile, others were asked about the same package going in the reverse direction from Edinburgh to London. With the two critical variables (distance and weight) staying exactly the same you would imagine that the answers would be similar. However, the average estimate for the South to North version of the journey was significantly more… The findings demonstrated that going ‘up’ the country encouraged the belief that extra effort and resources would be required. And this was not an isolated result; based on the assumed costs variances of different cities its findings were verified by similar studies all over the world. In other experiments, people showed a tendency to visit local shops that were south of their homes rather than those to the north that were equidistant or nearer, again on a presumption that it was easier to travel downhill!

So how does this help you? It proves that the same information can be presented in different ways to invoke a better response. For example: saying that ‘Brian is the best player in the team’ is better than saying that ‘Brian isn’t the worst player.' And telling someone you are feeling ‘down in the dumps’ sounds defeatist while saying you are looking for something to ‘cheer yourself up’ reflects a far more positive attitude about your situation.

It may seem like a very small idea. However, I promise you that by thinking carefully about the words you use it can have a massive effect on the power of your communication.

Have fun

Category: Marketing

About The Author

Martin Gladish