WOW eNewsletter

Vol 6 Iss 9 Sept 2011

Quote of the Month

“Yesterday does not equal tomorrow. Forget the past and move towards your goals.” ~Tony Robbins

Harness the Power of Your Words

Are your words show poppers or show stoppers? When you write or even when you speak about your passion you always have a choice of how to get your message across. Words are indeed a two-sided sword. If you use what is known as 'keepers' your words will pop and others will catch them, put them in their mouth and savor them. On the contrary, if your words are cliché or bland chances are they will get once-over'd and spewed out.


There are many words that can substitute for poor word choices. These power words are regularly used by advertising agencies to get your juices flowing. Professionals know that words like discover, unleash and breakthrough are power words that substitute for the bland words we so often turn to such as find or get. Which do you prefer the taste and feel of in your mouth? Which spurs you to take action? I'll bet you will agree that the professionals use the words that make the difference in your taking action or even just reading the next line.


Other poor word choices are described in Don Watson's book Death Sentences. He calls them 'management speak'. This way of writing or talking lulls you to sleep or loses you before you finish reading. He further states that this type of speaking "is cliché-ridden and lacks meaning, energy, imagery, and rhythm. ... Buzz words abound in it."


When speaking to reporters, whether online of offline, try to find ways of saying things that bring your point out succinctly. Reporters love these. Rather than bland ineffective drawl, try to use those 'keepers' that I mentioned earlier.


In her recent article Craft Verbal 'Keepers' and Trim the Fat' Karen Friedman gives some easy to grasp examples. Here's just one; see if you agree.

"Dull: Conservatives have looked at this seat and decided that they would not be relevant candidates against a five-term senator.

Keeper: Running against Arlene Specter is like having your teeth pulled without Novocain."[1]  


To me, not only is Karen's dull example dull, but I would say it falls into the 'management speak' that Don Watson has written about in his book.

There are a few good ways you can correct these types of errors in your writing and speaking. First and most important of these is to read, re-write, re-read, and re-write your words until they say exactly what you want them to. This takes practice; you will get better over time. Which brings me to the second way to improve your writing/speaking.


Say what you need to say in as few words as possible. Pretend you have to tweet your words. This is why I love Twitter. It forces you to get your point across succinctly. At the same time, be sure that those words are easily understood and understandable to others.


Take a hint from Karen Friedman and consider using analogies. Saying someone is 'running on empty' rather than 'tired' creates a vision which evokes an emotion. Here's another visual for you, 'like scraping your fingernails on a blackboard' rather than 'irritating'. See, or should I ask, do you 'feel' the difference?


Change the focus of your writing/speaking from you to your reader. Use active in place of passive words and benefits rather than features. Appeal to your reader's emotions and you will find your reader seeing their wants and needs being fulfilled when they follow your directive, or take your intended action.


When you take this advice to heart, you will find your words-both written and spoken-more powerful and effective.




[1] Friedman, Karen. "Craft Verbal 'Keepers' Trim the Fat." PRNews Nov 2010: 2.


© Copyright 2011 Ginger Marks

Ginger Marks is the founder of the DocUmeant Family of Companies, We Make YOU Look GOOD! For more information, visit Her 2011 annual edition of Holiday Marketing Guide, Your business-marketing calendar of ideas is now available at


Tip of the Month

When writing, no matter why or what always get a friend to go over it before you call it good. Another pair of eyes may spot something you totally missed. Sometimes it is a misspelling and other times it is the way something is said that could be made clearer with different words.

Until next month...