The Subtle Art of Language

The way an individual phrases and strings his/her sentences holds more power than you think. We’ve all heard of Martin Luther King Jr’s, “I still have a dream, a dream deeply rooted in the American dream, one day this nation will rise up and live up to its creed, ‘We hold these truths to be self evident: that all men are created equal,’ I have a dream…” But would his speech have this much impact if the words and sentences were strung differently?

Certain word choices can determine one’s persuasive skills and even subconscious beliefs. For example, the placement of gender in a sentence (men and women vs. women and men) can subtly indicate priority. This can be used in the context of writing: an individual can place more emphasis on certain words when they are brought to the front.

Another example: ‘There are several aspects when trying to create a strong brand. Such aspects are quality, customer service, and credibility.’ This sentence suggests that quality is the most important aspect among the 3.

Does intonation matter?

Studies show that our brain uses two different areas to analyze the mood and then the actual meaning of words. Raising or softening our voice can advocate different moods.

30 seconds is optimal.


Limit yourself to 30 seconds of speaking time in a conversation because the human brain can only hold several important points at a time.

When engaging customers…

A business’s choice of pronouns can influence a customer’s experience and whether it will lead to a purchase. Words used by the media influences how the public thinks about social issues. An experiment done by Kartik Hosanagar of Wharton, Professor of Operations, Information and Decisions, shows that “emotional and philanthropic messages… drive higher levels of likes and comments but product and price information elicit lower levels of likes and comments.” Thus, informative content should be paired with persuasive content to drive customer engagements.    

Click here to read more on how words affect others.

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