Use magic words and you’ll become a master of influence, motivate and persuade with ease. Magic words are mesmerizing.
“Say the magic word, and I’ll give you a cookie.” You’ve probably heard this a million times as a kid.
Magic words can be mesmerizing. Use them masterfully and you will possess the power to influence, motivate and persuade with ease.
When you were a kid, do you recall asking for something without saying “please?” And only when you utter the “magic word” will you get what you ask for.
These magic words can put a smile on anyone’s face and help them form a favorable impression of you.
In every social environment, words hold a mystical power to foster goodwill and build trust. Your relationships, leadership capabilities, and income hinge on your ability to persuade, influence, and motivate others.
Pay close attention to the most charismatic people and master influencers in your life. And you will notice that they all have one thing in common.
They are masters of language and words.
Master influencers use ‘magic words’ to elicit powerful emotions, feelings, and behaviors in their listeners. They’ve mastered the ability to change people’s opinions and influence the outcome of events.
Here’s an interesting revelation…
With time, effort, and the right strategies, you too can acquire the skills of master influencers.
Master influencers are not magicians. They are just experts at transforming everyday language into magic words.
Master influencers just know what words can effectively attract and enchant their audiences. Here are seven of the most effective magic word strategies used by master influencers.
Words are magical. They impact your perceptions, attitudes, beliefs, and emotions. You can use words to influence someone’s feelings, thoughts, and opinions.
Use the right words, and you can keep your audience engrossed. On the flipside, delivering the wrong words can lead to catastrophic results.
Read the following five words:
How do they make you feel?
Now do the same with this set of words:
What emotions do these phrases evoke in you?
Words cannot alter reality, but they can alter people’s perceptions of it.
Master influencers understand how to use magic words to elicit the desired response from their listeners.
Why are words so important? Because words are not only magical. It is also a mirror of your personality. Your choice of words will determine how you are perceived.
Pindar, an ancient Greek lyric poet, once said:
“Words have a longer life than deeds.”
It’s crucial to choose your words carefully. Words are very powerful. What is said (or sent) cannot be unsaid.
Words last forever. Especially in today’s digital landscape.
Avoid words with negative undertones such as “can’t,” “shouldn’t,” or “won’t.”
You must also pay attention to the word “if.”
→ Read the sentence below:
You can drive a Maserati IF you are 17.
→ Read the same sentence again, but this time with one word changed:
You can drive a Maserati WHEN you are 17.
Can you feel the impact of the sentence with the word “when”?
“If” implies the possibility of failure or choice. “When” implies the expectation of accomplishment and success.
Another strategy master influencers employ is using the word “do” instead of “try:” Take Master Yoda’s advice from Star Wars:
“Do or do not. There is no try.”
Try is a weak word. When you say “I’ll try,” you’re demonstrating a lack of commitment or uncertainty.
Master influencers use words that have influence. Using words like “kind of,” “sort of,” “maybe,” and “I think” conveys the idea that you’re a wishy-washy person.
Replace them with “I’m certain” and “I believe.” These words can boost your personal trustworthiness and credibility.
Words have an emotional impact. They can hurt and they can heal. Words even have the power to start wars.
This is something that master influencers are aware of. They will always think about how each word and phrase will affect you emotionally.
Master influencers have the ability to elicit emotions through the use of words. But when they want to downplay a situation or event, they can also render words emotionless.
Words are neutral. A skilled communicator can provide varied emotional weight to the words they use.
Calling someone thrifty rather than cheap or cautious rather than cowardly elicits a different emotional response from the listener.
According to the authors of Words Can Change Your Brain, Andrew Newberg, M.D. and Mark Robert Waldman:
“A single word has the power to influence the expression of genes that regulate physical and emotional stress.”
Neuroscientist Antonio Damasio argues in his book Descartes’ Error that emotion is a necessary component of almost all decisions.
Words impact emotions and emotions impact choices and decisions. To become a master influencer, learn to use words that appeal to emotions.
Euphemism is a linguistic strategy used to soften or diminish the negativity of a harsh or unpleasant word. It originated from the Greek word “eúphēmos”, which means “to say good words.”
American comedian George Carlin describes euphemism as a soft language that “conceals reality” and “takes the life out of life.”
Here are some of his thoughts and observations about euphemism:
“Sometime during my life toilet paper became bathroom tissue. Sneakers became running shoes. False teeth became dental appliances. Medicine became medication. Information became directory assistance. The dump became the landfill. Car crashes became automobile accidents. Partly cloudy became partly sunny.”
As a master influencer, use euphemisms only to change people’s emotional responses to unpleasant situations.
Using euphemisms when delivering bad news might make the process easier for both you and the person receiving the news. Even though they mean the same thing, putting the dog to sleep sounds a lot better than killing the dog.
Use euphemisms sparingly, with care, and only when necessary.
There will be occasions when no words are necessary. And situations where the best thing to say is to say nothing at all.
You must keep silent during these moments to allow the other person to talk. It may sound contradictory. But listening can sometimes extend your sphere of influence far more effectively than speaking.
In the movie Godfather II, the landlord approached young Vito Corleone. He had offended the Godfather, Vito, by evicting a woman and denying her access to her apartment.
When the landlord learns who Vito is, he intends to reverse his decision. Instead, Vito kept silent and wanted to think it over. The landlord, uneasy about the silence, tries to sweeten his offer.
He will not only accept the tenant back, along with her son and dog. But he will also maintain the same rent rather than raise it.
This is met with another uncomfortable silence. The landlord sees the silence as a rejection of his offer. So, he made another counter offer by lowering the rent.
Master influencers are aware that persuasion doesn’t always require more communication. In contrast, the less you say, the wiser you are perceived to be.
In silence, you are not only listening to what is being said. You are also listening to what is not being said.
Imagine that you are lounging on a deck chair next to a pool. As you look across the pool, you realize that you’re in a resort with a view of the Pacific Ocean. A cool breeze brushes across your skin.
With your eyes closed, you allow yourself to enjoy the serenity of the moment. As you sink into the deck chair, your body can feel the softness of the cushion beneath you. The laughter of happy children fills the air.
Moments later, you caught a whiff of citrus coming from the left of you. You sat upright and looked to your left. A waiter brought you a freshly cut orange.
As you bring a section of freshly cut orange closer to your mouth, the aroma gets stronger. The juice from the orange bursts out and swishes around your teeth and tongue as you bite into it.
Did all five senses come into play when you read the passage above? Did your mouth water as you were reading the part about the orange?
Master influencers can work magic with their words. They use multisensory language to elicit responses from the five senses of their audience.
Their magic words allow their audience to see, hear, feel, taste, smell, and experience what they are saying.
To become a master influencer, you need to learn the 5 most persuasive words in the English language. You will be surprised to learn that these are simple words that you use on a regular basis.
Let’s take a closer look at the 5 most persuasive words in the English language.
In his classic 1936 book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie wrote:
“A person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”
This statement still stands true today. Hearing your name triggers a biological reaction in your brain. And it releases two feel-good hormones called dopamine and serotonin.
Your name is linked with how you perceive yourself and makes up a significant part of your identity. It’s no surprise, then, that you become more engaged when your name appears in a conversation.
You like your name, but that’s not the only thing you like about it. The simple utterance of the word “you” is enough to pique your interest.
Master influencers know that it is in our nature to be the focus of attention in a conversation. Hence, that makes “you” the single most convincing word you can use when speaking or writing.
You can give out almost anything for free. No matter how insignificant, and you will grab people’s attention.
The allure of the magic word “free” stems from the fact that it is a risk-free offer. It doesn’t require anything of you.
Master influencers weave the word “free” to capture their listeners’ attention. They know that everybody loves a bargain. It’s practically human nature.
Ask yourself these 3 questions before using this magic word strategy:
There’s one thing you should keep in mind when using this magic word strategy:
Your listeners must believe you’re giving away something valuable.
This word is prevalent today. Everything is about speed. The demand for immediate pleasure is high. An inherent part of human nature is the urge to feel pleasure or fulfilment without delay.
According to University of Illinois psychologist Shahram Heshmat:
“Generally speaking, we want things now rather than later. There is psychological discomfort associated with self-denial. From an evolutionary perspective, our instinct is to seize the reward at hand, and resisting this instinct is hard.”
When you think of an instant reward, your mid-brain lights up. And you want it NOW. That is how your brains are wired.
Do you know what else will switch on that mid-brain?
Words like “instant,” “immediately,” or even “fast.”
So how do you play on the magic word “now” to influence your audience? You can do this by framing your statements around this word.
Whether it’s a new product, a new city, or a new career, as humans, we love all things new. We enjoy learning about new things and being the first to know about them…
…because “new” evokes positive change. Master influencers know that people connect to emotions rather than words.
In cognitive psychology, newness stimulates attention, emotion, memory, and behavior. Even our midbrain has a region that responds to novel stimuli.
The desire for novelty begins as early as one year of age. Babies paid more attention to photographs they were seeing for the first time than to pictures they had seen previously.
According to Dr Emrah Düzel from UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience:
“When we see something new, we see it has a potential for rewarding us in some way. This potential that lies in new things motivates us to explore our environment for rewards.
The brain learns that the stimulus, once familiar, has no reward associated with it and so it loses its potential. For this reason, only completely new objects activate the midbrain area and increase our levels of dopamine.”
That’s why this magic word works.
Not all words are created equal. Certain words are magic words that can move mountains.
Ellen Langer, a psychologist at Harvard University, discovered that some common words have near-magical powers. These words have the potential to influence people to act against their own best interests.
Langer’s famous experiment involved a photocopier at which a long line of people stood. She tried cutting in line by asking politely:
“Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine?”
She attempted this several times and discovered that 60% of the time, people let her go ahead of them.
For her second experiment, her request remained the same. The only thing she changed was the wording of her question:
“Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine because I’m in a rush?”
By adding the magic word ‘‘because’’ the rate of compliance shot up to 94%.
Now, here is where it gets interesting. In her third experiment, Langer used an obvious reason:
“Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine because I have to make some copies?”
The compliance rate remained almost the same, at 93%. Because the word “because” prepares the mind for a reason. Even if the reason may not appear to be valid, it is still a reason.
Parents all around the world pull this trick on their kids with the infamous “because I said so.”
Master influencers know how potent this magic word is. The word “because” satisfies the brain’s need for a link between cause and effect.
The ability to influence others is an essential skill to have. There will be times in your daily interactions when you will need to influence others to share your point of view.
Most of us are not born with the power of influence. But with time and effort, you will be able to master these skills.
When you’ve mastered the art of influence, use it to better yourself and contribute to the greater good.
Think of all the people in your life who have influenced you to strive for greater heights. Now, use your newfound abilities to help others.
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