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Words That Work

Words That Work

by Dr. Frank Luntz

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FRANK LUNTZ

“These, then, are the ten rules of effective communication, all summarized in single words: simplicity, brevity, credibility, consistency, novelty, sound, aspiration, visualization, questing, and context.”

FRANK LUNTZ

“Remember, everything you need to say should be up front. All that you want to say can come later.”

It’s not what you say, it’s what people hear

You can have the best message in the world, but the person on the receiving end will always understand it through the filter of their own emotions, preconceptions, prejudices, and preexisting beliefs.

  • Simplicity: Use small words
  • Brevity: Use short sentences
  • Credibility: Be credible in every word or statement you make
  • Consistency:  Iterate the same message, over and over
  • Novelty

Some “Don’ts” in communication

  • Never use a metaphor, simile, or another figure of speech that you are used to seeing in print.
  • Never use a long word where a short one will do.
  • If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
  • Never use the passive where you can use the active.
  • Never u...

The single most-read portion after the opening paragraph is the postscript. The reason is easy to understand:

  • The average reader looks to the P.S. to determine whether or not it is in fact a personal letter, and whether that letter has any relevance to his or her life.

Similar words can prompt different reactions among different people

Words have different meanings to different people. For example, “welfare” and “assistance to the poor” essentially mean the same thing. However, if you ask the citizens whether or not we are spending too much on welfare (23%) or assistance for the poor (68%), it’s clear that these two terms hold ...

Effective communication isn’t about the objective meaning of your words, but rather how people understand them. It’s essential to consider their preconceptions, especially their beliefs and fears.

One example is George Orwell who knew this well and used it in his book ...

FRANK LUNTZ

“Words that work, whether fiction or reality, not only explain but also motivate. They cause you to think as well as act. They trigger emotion as well as understanding.”

Important words

  • Consequences: What will personalize, and what will dramatize the result of your actions?
  • Impact: How can you utilize this word to make your listeners feel as if there will be a measurable difference?
  • Diplomacy and Dialogue: U...

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