Years ago, during the first parent-teacher conference at my son’s new middle school, the teaching team glowed over his abilities, achievements, and contributions to the classroom. It was the same diplomatic start as similar meetings at his previous school. They’d rattle off a list of strengths to take the sting out of the longer list of learning challenges to follow. This time, though, no sting. When I pressed for, you know, “the bad news,” they looked at me like I was talking about the wrong kid. Proving my favorite theory of strategic wording, one teacher nodded her head astutely and schooled me with this:
Here, we don’t ask, “How smart is your child?” We ask, “How is your child smart?”
Same words, different arrangement. So simple, yet so powerful that my brain came unstuck. In an instant, I saw my son differently.
That, my friend, is how you want your content to work.
The fellow who first claimed, “The pen is mightier than the sword,” knew that words can shape the brain long before science could back it up. Research now shows that negative words beget stress. In turn, stress begets negative thinking. Research also shows that positive thoughts and speech change our self-perception. Positive words can influence how we perceive the world around us. Literally, words help us shape our reality.
Want to influence your readers’ reality? Get them to desire and trust your offer?
Choose strategic wording that disturbs stuck brains. Choose the subversive words that change beliefs, shape opinions, and influence ideas. The ones that make your reader not only see the comet that illuminates the dark, but also make her feel like she’s the one who discovered it.
How can your content make your customers feel like that?