Words Are Your Paint – Be Selective In Your Use of Colors

Certain words or word combinations resonate, communicating strength; others appear weak. No apparent reason applies to why words spoken can have either effect any more than why musical notes in a particular combination are deeply stirring, while the same notes rearranged have the same effect as fingernails on a chalkboard.

Words, particularly certain poetic words, can have a broad variety of meanings. As example, Spring can bring to mind end of Winter, flowers, rain showers, gardening, cool breezes… Or simply the season between Winter and Summer. It’s not unusual for commonly used words or word combinations, when inserted into a face-to-face transaction or letter, to weaken the thought.

Linguists categorize speech nuances into word types:


Objective observations are fact-based, useful for recording or transferring data and messages, or referring to things or events.


Action-oriented language incites decisions, encourages participation, and arouses passions.

Motivational types – politicians, trial lawyers, evangelists, Army commanders, coaches, business leaders, and high-powered salesmen – have in common an action-oriented, to-the-point speaking style. Intonation and facial expressions transform words into calls for action.


Poetic language captures a mood. A scientist can mathematically describe a seashore wind current. But to someone strolling along a beach on a summer evening, a light breeze moving the air, thoughts given to numeric functions will be improbable

Poetic language describes sensations, the – serenity of the sea, calm comfort of a wood fire, biting humor of a joke, goose bumps from listening to an emotional musical arrangement…

Under the right circumstances glorious prose can be impressive, but not in a sale presentation. Prose without a motivating premise is just verbal bling.


Many expressions heard in normal conversation are often not so much poor English, as poor style. Words capable of ambushing what might have been an otherwise well-considered presentation include such contributors to weak communication as:

Speech modifiers (kind of, sort of)

Hedges (I think, I feel)

Fillers (uh, um, or well)

Overly polite (please, sir, if you will…)

Excuses (I apologize for not being available, I was…)

Conditional language (would, should, if, could). If is conditional; when implies certainty; something will happen.

Passive communication’s sale transaction equivalent is cotton candy’s contribution to nutrition. And an elegant vocabulary, while a potentially powerful attribute, can undo an otherwise excellent selling presentation.

Insertion of a few five-dollar words into the conversation is just as capable of weakening communication as insertion of a “his’n,” “he don’t,” or “ain’t.”

Whether writing or speaking, the active voice is more concise; the positive statement, more motivational. Habitual active-voice use is forceful, a quality capable of extending to statements of any kind.

There are other word usages to avoid – speech anomalies. A subject for another discussion.

Learn more by reading GameBreaker: Guide to World-Class Selling


Ron Brock

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