Logic makes you think, emotions make you act. You’ve heard this before, right? But you know what you haven’t heard? Someone telling you how to leverage emotions.
The language you use and the phrases you choose can help you stir emotions of the person you’re trying to persuade. One way to create an emotional response is by using adjectives in your persuasive conversations.
Relax: I’m not going to go all “Schoolhouse Rock” on you, but here are some great examples you can use to punch up your language.
• Adjectives can be absolute, comparative or superlative.
Good, better or best. Caution: Don’t overuse superlatives. A few add impact; using them a lot blunts their effect and erodes your credibility. Because not everything can be the best and the most.
“The Basic package is good. The Open Road is better. The Enthusiast is better still. But the Legendary is the best — and most comprehensive — package we offer. That’s where we should start.”
Notice how this builds anticipation (a fundamental emotion) and finally joy at reaching the summit of your offering.
(Note that I don’t say the biggest, most expensive package is also the most popular. It makes consumers suspicious when your most expensive is also — curiously enough — your most popular. If it’s true, fine. But otherwise, avoid it.)
• Turn nouns and verbs into adjectives by adding an ending.
Try “-ic” or “-ish” or “-ary” or “-est,” as in “Our savviest customers typically put 20 to 25 percent down.”
Savvy is an adjective, but what’s really great about it for this example is that it also is aspirational. Everyone wants to be savvy.
• Add an adjective to a noun.
Understand that — when working with you — your target will make important decisions. “Decision” is a noun; “decide” is a verb. So add an adjective in front of that “decision.”
– A big decision.
– A critical decision
– A crucial decision.
– Afar‐reaching decision.
– A significant decision.
“Picking the coverage for your Harley‐Davidson experience is a significant decision, and I want to make sure you have all the facts.”
Another variation involves stressing to your target that they are making not only important decisions, but also informeddecisions. Your role is really to educate others to help them make the best decision possible. Here are some variations:
– We want you to make a knowledgeable decision.
– We want you to make an educated decision.
– We want you to make a wise decision.
– We want you to make an enlightened decision.
“Picking the coverage for your Harley‐Davidson experience is crucial, and I want to make sure you have all the facts so you can make an informed decision.”
Note: It can also be helpful to identify decisions as “responsible” or even “irresponsible”:
– The responsible thing to do is consider and plan for these possibilities.
– It would be irresponsible not to consider these possibilities.
These descriptors amplify the importance of the decision and subsequently the significance of your advice. This goes a long way toward creating a trusting relationship.
Similarly, when talking about decisions that involve an element of risk, make your language more interesting by trying some of these variations:
– It’s about diminishing risk.
– It’s about lowering risk.
– It’s about decreasing risk.
– It’s about downsizing your risk.
– It’s about paring down your risk.
“Having peace of mind is all about diminishing risk. And that’s why I’d like to talk to you about the Harley‐Davidson Guaranteed Asset Protection program.”
Fear — specifically fear of loss — is probably the most powerful human emotion. We are much more influenced to act (or not) by fearing what we might lose, rather than what we have to gain.
I consider language to be of crucial importance to your persuasion success. The words you use and the phrases that you choose have a huge bearing on what others think, say and do.
Give these ideas a try immediately.