The Art of Persuasion: The Perfect Sound Bite
Words transcend their owner. Once you’re done speaking, how are people going to remember you?
No human is capable of naturally remembering word-for-word any message you tell them. Instead, they identify what you said through a set of words, or keywords. It’s like SEO –for real life.
Companies and politicians often use slogans or taglines to market themselves. The logic is simple: If it’s catchy, people are going to remember it. Nike’s “Just Do It” is a classic example, and the word ‘Change’ has rallied more than mere political supporters. Be it daily conversations or formal speeches, using the right set of words will allow you to convey a message beyond mere sound.
Persuasion and the Perfect Sound Bite
1) Make it Sound Nice
Well, who didn’t see this one coming? This idea isn’t really applicable to daily conversations, given that there’s little effectiveness in making every message poetic. Rather, when it comes to marketing, creating videos, or delivering presentations, get a set of words to drop a bombshell on your audience, or summarize a key idea.
Words are an art, not a science; however, here are some ideas. Using a single word is usually a tough sell, unless they’re particularly emotional or powerful. This is because single words are either too generic or can’t stand out. When it comes to summarizing an idea during a speech though, standalone words are helpful.
Sophisticated words are a tricky business. Most companies rarely use them in their slogans, but sometimes they are necessary to capture the intricacies of an idea. As a general rule, substitute complicated words for simpler words where possible. Which leads us to…
2) Say Little
Think of words as a currency. The more you use them, the less you have to buy a person’s attention. Empty words –such as “in my personal opinion” –may seem like minor details, but they accumulate and cloud up a message. Some may choose to overpower their audience with words, but this rarely leaves a lasting impression.
Sometimes, making a message poetic may compromise its clarity. There aren’t any set guidelines, but it’s up to you to decide the intent of the message. When it comes to an audience that isn’t willing to decipher your words, a simple and clear cut message would be preferable. In general, we have a tendency to favor less complicated messages as the more persuasive, or true, messages.
3) Avoid Clichés
This isn’t to say clichés are bad in their entirety; dropping one every now and then shouldn’t be a problem. Using clichés as your frontrunners when it comes to summarizing or promoting an idea, however, is problematic. Clichés aren’t memorable –they don’t distinguish you from anyone else. Some clichés are downright annoying; they ruin credibility and stain the essence of your idea.
Words should go beyond their mere utterance. To persuade, the ability to pick and choose words that convey the right message as well as inspire deeper thought, is an ability fundamental to conviction.
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