Langevin Blog

Writing to Influence: The Ten Most Powerful Words

September 19th, 2011

I recently looked up the ten most powerful words in the English language. These words are key tools used by advertisers, marketers, writers, and business people for marketing and influencing purposes. Here is an adaptation of these words for training professionals. Some ideal places to use these words would be in our course descriptions, welcome emails, needs analysis proposals, and training evaluation reports.

  • You
    Writing directly to your reader commands attention. Trainers have done this in training materials seemingly forever. We can write in the second person in our course descriptions as well.
  • Results
    How perfectly does this match up with our fourth level of evaluation? We shouldn’t just limit this word to evaluation reports, though. Describe expected changes in business results in your needs analysis proposals, for example.
  • Health
    Perfect for safety training. You can express outcomes in terms that mean more to your audience using this word.
  • Guarantee
    Some of the guarantees we may be able to offer in training are: “Our training is performance-based.” “You will get to practice real life situations.” “You will enjoy a safe learning environment.” Just make sure you’ve designed the training to deliver on your promises.
  • Discover
    As an example, in your course descriptions, invite your learners to “Discover new, more efficient ways to get more work done with fewer resources.”
  • Love
    If you love training, exclaim that you love what you do. Tell your learners that this improves the odds that they’ll love their training experience. Also sounds like a good element to add to the pre-course email learners receive.
  • Proven
    First ensure your training is based on job tasks that were documented in thorough detail and were well validated. Then you can confidently proclaim your training will teach proven processes guaranteed to produce significant results.
  • Safety
    I’ll defer physical safety to the third bullet (“Health”) listed above. Instead, let me focus this word on social safety with an example: “Enjoy the chance to practice and master new skills in the safety of a training room without negative consequences.” How’s that for a course description item?
  • Save
    Granted, employees may not be saving money of their own because of a training course. But they might be able to save time, or effort, or their department’s operating budget as a result of the new skills they learn.
  • New
    Sure, our content is often new. But how about our instructional methods? If you’re trying new training techniques, make that part of your internal advertising. People can be excited about the process as well as the content.

As trainers we deal with a lot of technical writing. Procedural documents tend to be dry and to-the-point. Hopefully, in all our other forms of writing, these words can help make our messages more compelling and further our cause: improving employee performance by giving them more knowledge and skills.

Alan

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One Response to “Writing to Influence: The Ten Most Powerful Words”

  1. Simon says:

    Great article and great reminders for all of us who write on the internet – these are crucial words to help building articles and blog posts around – thanks for sharing.

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