Words that Work

It’s been about a year since Robin Williams left us. Many people still miss him. Not just his humor but his amazing words that encouraged us and made us dream big. One quote from him that’s been circulating lately is not his, it’s his character’s from Dead Poets Society:

“No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.”

That’s what I’m all about – words and ideas. I love to create words that represent great ideas. I love to help other people turn their thoughts into words into actions. And since I work with words, I need to use words that work. That’s what led me to the recent classic by Frank Luntz Words that Work. Taking from his long history as a political strategist, Luntz shares some great insights into how to use words to produce results.

The main idea of his book is that it doesn’t matter what you say, it matters what your audience hears. That’s so important, especially as we try to shrink the communications gap. When our words work, they are focused at brining a clear message to the masses.

From the book, here are his ten rules of effective language:

  1. Simplicity: Use Small Words
  2. Brevity: Use Short Sentences
  3. Credibility is as Important as Philosophy
  4. Consistency Matters
  5. Novelty: Offer Something New
  6. Sound and Texture Matter
  7. Speak Aspirationally
  8. Visualize
  9. Ask a Question
  10. Provide Context and Explain Relevance

Some of these I don’t think fit so well with sermons (#5 and #8 for instance), but some are incredibly helpful (#3 and #10!).

Does this list pique your interest? Want to know more? Go ahead and grab the book! It’s a great read and will definitely help you hone your message skills.