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The YouTube video to the left is a great example of the power of words. I remember well the impact it had on me when I first watched it. I truly believe that words do have the power to change both our inner and outer world and they certainly do have a profound impact upon others.

If you think of your words as seeds and imagine that every time you speak you're planting something, you will be more aware of the words that you use and how you use them. In the last lesson we worked on weeding out the filler words in your speech like "uh", "um" and other invasive weeds that ruin the potentially lush landscape of your language. In this lesson we will look at the words that you use and how you use them.


The words you use are like containers for the emotion you inject with your tone. Think about what a word means when you say it. Inject that emotion into the word when you say it. Feel it and others will feel it too.


  1. Begin to include some of the magical words of persuasion into your speech. See below.

  2. Stop speaking on auto pilot and be more aware of what you are saying. Avoid canned responses and cliches. Develop the diversity of your language landscape. Plant more.

  3. Speak slower this week. Continue to weed those pesky filler words out and also include strong descriptive words.

  4. Watch the video below and notice how the narrator uses certain words to convey the message and make a note of how you feel in response to these words.


  1. Because - This has to do with cause and effect.  A well known study conducted at Harvard in 1971 has shown that if you use this word, people are more likely to listen and respond positively. Instead of saying "Please listen to me." say "Listen to me because I will share something that may change the way you speak."

  2. Now - This word creates a sense of urgency.  Tell your audience or listeners to act "now".

  3. Imagine - This is particularly powerful word as born out a Lincoln Mercury advertisement with the tag line, "Imagine yourself in a Mercury now." When you use this word you tap into the part of a person's brain that allows them to visualize or picture what you're saying.

  4. Please and thank you - When we are growing up our parents might have referred to these words as "magic" words and they do seem to hold a bit of magic. Research has shown that use of these words makes it more likely that people will respond positively.

  5. Names - Using a person's name is very effective. Using a person's name too often is not effective because telemarketers tend to overuse your name and it makes us feel like we're being 'sold' to. The general rule of thumb is to use it when you greet a person and when you say goodbye. Say it with warmth in your voice.

  6. Control words such as "Put yourself in charge" and "You are in control" or "You have the power". You've heard some of these before in advertisements. People fear loss of control and if you can make them feel like they are in control they feel better.

From Kevin Hogan's "Magic Words of Persuasion"


At one time I had a great passion for gardening and completed a few landscaping courses. I learned a lot about the subject and began to realize that a garden should be viewed both aesthetically and functionally. We design a garden to be pleasing to the eye but it also serves a purpose and much thought must go into the design elements to achieve that purpose. The same goes for a speech. First you will decide on the point of your speech - what message you'd like convey. Once you have this nailed down, you begin the design process. Once you've created the structure and put everything in its place, you begin to plant trees, shrubs and flowers.  If words are to be compared to the seeds that you plant then you need to ensure that the right seed goes into the right soil. In landscape design you learn that certain plants like acid soil while others prefer a more alkaline environment. This goes back to understanding your audience and their needs. What words do you need to use to reach your audience?

Amy Curzan - What Makes Words Real?
I posted up this bonus video because I think it's fascinating and it's on subject. I would also like you to begin evaluating speeches. Jot down what you liked and didn't like in this presentation  I found myself thinking that Amy needed to drink some water because I could tell she was dehydrated and probably a little nervous. She has a witty sense of humor and is very down to earth and likeable. Her style is conversational. What do you think?

NEXT WEEK - Speech-writing basics.


Communication - an  e-book by Dr. Gordon Coates

*Attribution: Coates, G.T. 2009. Notes on Communication: A few thoughts about the way we interact with the people we meet.

Free e-book from



LESSON 1 - You are Your Own Brand
Figuring out who you are and what you offer to this world. What makes you unique and how you can use this to your advantage. Improve your skills through objective evaluation.


LESSON 2 - Give People a Reason to Listen

How to source content that matters to others. Understanding your audience so that you can speak directly to their needs.


LESSON 3 - Making Every Word Count

Changing the way you speak so that you will become more interesting to listen to. Weed out filler words and other distracting vocal habits


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