The Unlimited Power Of Positive Words (Part 2)

Today’s post is a sequel to The Persuasive Power Of Small Words, where we determined the following:

Use words that you feel are necessary for effective communication, and cut out the excess baloney.

Let’s dive in deeper: this post will analyze the need to understand the emotional state of individual words and the resulting impact on your writing and your readers. Further, I’ll make good on my promise to change your life (for the better) with the conclusion to this mini-series. Just wait.

The smallest words you use in your sentences can drastically alter the direction you want your post to take even if they seem irrelevant to the outcome of your topic’s focus. Obviously you need to convey an applicable message based on your content (don’t use a canoe when you’re in the rapids), but the microscope is even more intense when examining the emotional response words elicit in your readers.

Choose Your Words Carefully

As often as I can, I choose words that invoke a positive reaction. As a copywriter your most vital function is convincing your readers to take action (check out this neat post at Quicksprout to learn more about improving your conversion rate). Positive words reinforce the good rather than punish the bad, which is far more effective in all walks of life. Would you scold your toddler for being unable to conquer the enormous milestone that is potty training? Or would you pump them up when they accomplish (or at least read a book about) this monumental task? Positive reinforcement trumps negative energy. Every. Single. Time.

Super Fun Word Choice Experiment

I was working on content for a client when the idea for this post hit me in the mind. I was writing a sentence that was…off…from the beginning. I felt bad for writing it, like I was sneaking energy away from my readers. It got me thinking about the progression from a negatively reinforced emotional state to one that uses positive energy in order to garner the desired response.

The sentence in question and the transformation of the words:

  1. Hire this dangerous photographer, but wear a helmet.
    -This was the first version of the sentence; I wasn’t a fan of the word ‘but’, it instantly tells the reader not to do something.
  2. Hire this dangerous photographer and wear a helmet.
    -I used ‘and’ instead of ‘but’. Closer, but negativity is still guaranteed with ‘dangerous’ and reinforced with ‘helmet’. I’m not writing to skydiving hippo-tamers here. That’d be cool, though.
  3. Hire this adventurous photographer and wear a helmet.
    -Getting there, but potential photography clients might still be turned off due to their need for protective gear.
  4. Hire this adventurous photographer and wear rubber boots.
    -I want this guy to take pictures of me! The positive nature of ‘adventurous’ and the fun, safe notion of rubber boots speak directly to FotoJournal’s clientele.

It took a few tries, but the resulting sentence is completely positive and will create a positive response. Writing to a specific demographic will inevitably create varied reactions, so why not remove any hint of negative energy? People craft their own opinions of your work, so it’s more important than ever to marry every word you choose with positive, helpful energy. As an added bonus, consistently inflecting with an unerringly positive emotional state in your writing will steadily creep into your everyday use of language and into the the manner in which you perceive the world around you.

Booya, Your Life Is Changed

NOW: I want you to take part in an experiment with me. Let’s demonstrate how people from all walks of life turn negative energy into positive. Re-write the sentence below and post your revision in the comments or on my Twitter page.

“Invest time studying this alarmingly unique graphic designer, and remember to bring your notebook.”


Photo Cred: Flickr user Darwin Bell

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