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Book Summary: Words That Work – By Dr. Frank Luntz

It’s not what you say, It’s what people hear.  Words that Work

“You can have the best message in the world, cheapest but the person on the receiving end will always understand it through the prism of his or her own emotions, cost preconceptions, prejudices, and pre-existing beliefs.”

With years of work as a pollster behind him, Frank Luntz is in a position to offer empirically tested advice on the basics of crafting a message.  Whether you are marketing a product, an idea, or a candidate, there is a lot of excellent advice in this very interesting and readable book.

This book focuses on key messaging advice and strategies that can re-shape an idea or campaign –for example, the re-naming of “off-shore drilling” to “energy exploration” or “Gambling “ to “Gaming”

Words that Work also contains case studies and great lists like: “Ten rules for Effective Communicating”, and “21 words and Phrases for the 21st Century”, or “21 Political Words & Phrases You Should Never Say Again”

For any follower of US politics, the inside anecdotes and stories behind communications strategies, from Goldwater to Kerry, are well worth the read on their own.

 Useful Info & Ideas to Try

  •  Use short words and short sentences.  Use visuals if you can.  Inspire. Be Positive.
  •  Credibility, consistency, authenticity, and your reputation are important
  •  Speak Aspirationally, and beyond that, tap into people’s idealized self image – the place they want to be or can see themselves, preferably something they can visualize, or feel.
  •  It is essential to know what drives or motivates your target market.  Try to see the world through the eyes of your audience.  Build relevance and make sure you have the correct context.
  •  The order you present things in can be crucial – you can pre-dispose people to supporting your message.
  •  Getting people to use their imagination is one of the most powerful things you can do.  Your audience does the work, and it is relevant.
  •  Some Good Words: Hassle-free, Lifestyle, Innovation, Results, Renew, revitalize, Efficient, Investment, Certified, Peace of Mind, Prosperity, A Balanced Approach.
  •  Offer 3 facts to prove any point or assertion you make.
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