5 powerful words you can use to effectively influence others
When it comes to the art of influence & persuasion, one tool is much more powerful than others: Language.
To be able to create an exceptional level of influence, you need to have mastery over your language. Learning how to strategically use words & phrases, can take you a long way in being an influential communicator.
In the words of Gregory Ciotti who amended the famous quote from animal farm
“All words are equal, but some words are more equal than others”
There are certain power words when used in a specific way holds more sway over our decisions than others. When you look at these ‘Power words’ it might not seem that powerful at first glance. Yet, the simplicity of the language is what makes it…well powerful.
And when using them strategically you might be surprised how effective these simple words can be.
I have listed some of these words below that will enable to be more persuasive with your audience.
Don’t think of yourself wearing a pink wig …. and dancing
What did you think of?
Yourself wearing a pink wig …. and dancing
Your mind does not comprehend negatives. Hence, when you ask your mind to not to do something, the focus is still on that part which you don’t want to do. Knowing this, you can use don’t strategically to achieve your desired outcome.
- You don’t want to think about buying our product right now. You can consider that later.
- You don’t have to be happy right now while you are reading this blog
According to a research at Yale University, ‘You’ is cited as #1 power words of all. This might be true at some level, but using you anywhere and everyone can potentially backfire.
Check your experience reading the following two statements
- As you are reading this article, you will find various powerful ways in which you can influence others
- As I am reading this article, I will find various powerful ways in which I can influence others
Notice any difference?
‘You’ is a very useful way to dissociate from your own experience and influencing others. Here, since I want to influence you to be a powerful communicator, I will be more inclined to use the word ‘You’ in my communication.
Ex. As you notice different features of the app you might realize how flexible it is.
‘I’ is very useful to internalise an experience. Hence, when I am sharing my own experience and want to influence myself to create better habits, states, etc, I will tend to use ‘I’.
Ex. As I was walking down the stairs, I realized how much I have achieved in life.
This is useful when you don’t want to directly address to the person. You can make statements with ‘One’ and they will unconsciously relate it to themselves.
As one was reading this article, one will find various powerful ways in which he/she can influence others.
What was your experience reading this?
In a study from the classic book Influence by Robert Cialdini, tests were conducted on requests from a person in a hurry to use an in-office copy machine. The tests examined how different requests might affect people’s willingness to allow this person to ‘cut’ in line.
In the first test, the participant simply stated:
Excuse me, I have 5 pages. May I use the Xerox machine?
In this scenario, around 60% of people allowed him to cut in line and use the machine first.
In the next scenario, the request was slightly tweaked. This time, the participant said:
I have 5 pages. May I use the Xerox machine, because I am in a rush?
Did you see the ever-so-subtle difference between the two? In this scenario, 94% of people allowed him to cut the line.
Let’s look at the structure of both the requests. Both the requests made were almost similar with a reason attached at the end to the second one which might be not even valid. Aren’t most working people always in the rush?
They changed the request minimally …
Excuse me, I have 5 pages. May I use the Xerox machine because I want to make copies.
Well, that’s the purpose of it anyways. When used this request the acceptance level dropped only by 1%. 93% of the people still allowed him to cut the line.
According to Cialdini:
A well-known principle of human behaviour says that when we ask someone to do us a favour we will be more successful if we provide a reason. People simply like to have reasons for what they do.
So, start attaching because to your requests because when you do that you will notice you will get significantly better results with your outcomes because that’s the way our mind works because that’s what is meant to happen 🙂
And check your experience of the following statements …
You have been learning a lot reading this influencing blog so far but there is more to learn.
You have been learning a lot reading this influencing blog and there is more to learn
What’s the difference between the two statements? Though the content looks similar there is a subtle difference in the structure of the sentence.
When you use ‘but’ as a conjunction, unconsciously, the first part of the sentence will be neglected.
Whereas, when you use ‘and’ as a conjunction, both parts of the statements remains true.
Ex. In feedback scenario
You have done your job well but you have so much more to work upon.
You have done your job well and you have much to work upon.
Notice the difference?
So, it’s usually useful to work with and so the whole of communication is accepted without any deletion and when you start doing that you will notice that you are getting better and better at it and you will notice the difference in the results you get as you become an influential communicator.
Our mind is excellent at making meaning and associating two different things together. That’s how it stays effective and learns faster. From the time we are born till now our mind gathers millions of sensory information and for it to makes sense of all those information, it has to make meanings.
Which means that our mind is already good at making meanings. That also means that we can use this functionality of mind to associate different experiences and move towards our outcomes.
All the great advertisements work on the same principle. They associate their products with positive experiences even if they are not relevant. Coke means happiness. Celebrations means Cadbury.
You can click on the link below to know more about the brands using this form in advertising.
So, how is this relevant?
You can use the similar principle in language to make meanings for people at the unconscious level.
Ex. You are reading this blog that only means that you are becoming a better influencer
You are making having a meaningful conversation with me that only means you care about us.
Putting it all together
Now that you have read this blog, you can start implementing the lessons right away in all of your conversation. You don’t have to get it right all the time but as you practice more and more you will notice that you are achieving extraordinary results very easily because language is that simple and learning to use the language in an effective way would propel your life to the next level.
These are just a few simple words that will make a massive difference in your communication. With these, there are many more power words & phrases as well as learning in depth about the structure of influence by understanding decision-making strategies, linguistic filters etc that we cover in our “The art of influential communication program”. You can know more about it here
Now it’s your turn
As you start experiencing the difference in your language, share in comments what are the different areas you see yourself using this.
How will you put this into practice?
What are the other power words according to you? How will you use them?
Nishith Shah is an International NLP Trainer and the founder of Thought Labs. He has created innovative experiential NLP based programs and helped thousands of individuals and organizations globally to achieve breakthrough results. He is also an avid mountaineer and has climbed several high peaks in the Himalayas till date. He will be climbing Everest in the next two years.