Dr. Frank Luntz
Learn more about psychology with this collection
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“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.”
“Remember, everything you need to say should be up front. All that you want to say can come later.”
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.
The single most-read portion after the opening paragraph is the postscript. The reason is easy to understand:
Make the postscript as human and emotional as possible.
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 differing connotations.
So while “welfare” brings up images of “welfare queens” and wasteful government spending, “assistance to the poor” reminds people of charity and Christian compassion.
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 1984. He wrote a passage that described Room 101 as a place where one confronts her greatest fears. Since everyone has different personal nightmares, Room 101 became associated with each reader’s individual nightmare.
“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.”
A lot of problems would disappear if we talked to each other more than talking about each other.
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