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The ultimate winning secret of smart leaders is their ability to communicate passionately and effectively in order to engage the general public and sell their vision, product or idea. Every smart leader understands that in public speaking, words play a vital role in getting a message across in a receptive and impactful way.
With almost 1 million words in the English Language at their disposal, smart leaders realize they must choose words that will significantly determine the impact of their message. After all, words form internal representations in the mind(s) of their listeners. The ultimate measure of a presentation’s effectiveness is whether people pay attention, apply what was said, follow through or take action on the message.
Whether it is the speeches of a then-unknown Illinois senator, Barack Obama, who rose to prominence in 2004 during the Democratic National Convention and eventually become the first black U.S. president, or the late Steve Jobs pitching the launch of a new Apple product, or a philanthropist trying to win the hearts and minds of people to donate and support a social cause, there are a few key words and phrases that have proven to be the most effective in getting people to take note. These words can be used by anyone whose job it is to influence, persuade or sell a service, product or idea.
This is the most powerful and influential word in the English language. Each person has a unique definition of “success” that he/she imagines and hopes someday to achieve. It personalizes the desires and dreams of each person that hears it. The word “imagine” derives its power from the fact that it’s an open, non-restrictive command that invites the audience to imagine whatever they want. And as they imagine in the context you have suggested, their own imagination (sense experience) starts doing the most important work – to convince themselves and, therefore, justify why they should buy what you are offering or agree with your point of view. John F. Kennedy once asked us to imagine landing a man on the moon and a decade later that imagining became a reality. By asking us to imagine, he was asking us to think of the possibilities and to convince ourselves that it’s a possible and worthy endeavor to pursue. And we did. This is persuasion at its finest.
Here are a few examples:
Imagine being who you have always wanted to be
imagine living your dreams
imagine having your perfect life partner
Imagine living in your dream home
imagine losing weight and having your ideal body
imagine having financial freedom
imagine being debt-free
imagine having a job that allows you to make your own schedule
imagine your life without stress
The word “breakthrough” expresses and describes the most radical, significant innovation people have been waiting for and dreaming of. It suggests a complete game-changing event – something they have never seen or experienced before that is offering meaning to their lives on several levels. The late Steve Jobs, one of the most innovative leaders of our time, took full advantage of this powerful word during the launch of the iPhone in 2007. “We are just at the beginning stages of what will be truly remarkable breakthrough,” he said. “The iPhone is a breakthrough in mobile technology.”
3. You Have The Right To
The concept of “rights” is enshrined in the minds of all people that live in a democratic and open society. When you deploy the phrase “you have the right to,” you immediately grab people’s complete attention and raise their expectations of what they demand of themselves. It is like you are giving them the license to demand more from themselves, to desire to have more of what they want out of life and to become more than what they are. The phrase is effective and influential because it is intrinsic in our nature to become more. People will listen with greater interest when what you said reaffirms with their own core beliefs. U.S. President Barack Obama, a great master of communication and persuasion, told American citizens, “You have the right to choose the doctor you want,” in his speeches about his health care reform policy. Using this phrase “you have the right to” adds intensity to your message. When you communicate and relate your product, service or idea into a “right, ” you go beyond selling it for its reasonable and beneficial factors; you are telling people it’s an essential part of who they are and what they deserve.
Here are a few examples:
You have the right to be happy
You have the right to be successful
You have the right to live your life the way you want
You have the right to love whoever you want
You have the right to choose your own destiny
You have the right to decide your own fate
You have the right to own your own business
You have the right to be treated with respect
4. Life-Changing ImpactWhen you use the phrase “life changing impact” you are implying that there will be a permanent and personalized benefit to the individual. It is imperative that when you use this phrase you immediately demonstrate the extraordinary value of your service, product or idea and contextualize it as a personal benefit that will enhance a person’s quality of life. In a La Francophonie Conference on Education, Michaelle Jean, The Secretary General of La Francophonie and former Governor General of Canada, said, “Education can have a life-changing impact on students.”
5. A Forensic Approach
This phrase has been popularized by the hit TV series CSI. It is used to demonstrate the seriousness and strategic importance of your proposed approach. The power of this phrase is that indicates a more detailed, precise and clinical process of doing things that guarantees reliable, dependable and predictable outcomes.
Words Have Power
Smart leaders don’t waste their time trying to convince people. They use these 5 words and phrases in order to penetrate people’s unconscious filters and create meaning. All smart leaders focus on them in order to sell the meaning they want people to associate with their vision, product or idea. Effective communication is a science and an art. You can learn it too.
Mary Jane Go has been teaching English for over 13 years. She believes that it is very important to learn English and learn it by heart. For her, it's always the right time for a dance party and that hanging out with friends is indispensable.