Chris Guillebeau & I signing books… Chris was the one signing, and I had the “monkey stamp” task.
A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending one of Chris Guillebeau‘s book tour stops here in Toronto, Canada. It was great to see such a great turn out and to connect with other non-conventional people locally.
I got inspired by Chris’ words of wisdom, and you’ll understand why by reading about the three rationales for using noteworthy words.
1. Life Changing Words and Books
To kick off his talk, Chris shared with us the reason why he wrote The Art of Non-Confirmity book. With so many blogs, twitter feeds, and Facebook updates, the idea of writing a book may seem antiquated.
But he decided to write a book because no single blog post ever changed his life… whereas he had experienced life-changing results after reading looks.
I can absolutely relate because I am a total bookworm, and books have definitely changed my life. I remember going to the library as a kid and bringing home stacks of books.
First it was fiction, then it was programming books, next it was self-help. Down the line it turned to nutrition, and then business. Oh, and I sometimes sneak a couple of romance novels in there too.
2. Words Make an Impact
There was another thing that Chris said in his speech that really resonated with me. It was this: words matter.
It’s such a simple concept, I know it to be true intuitively, and yet I don’t always take it into account.
Words matter in your communication with your lover, your family, your friends, your clients, and your detractors.
Words can impact people in ways that can change their lives. Words can influence people to take action, to buy, or to spread your message. Words can also elevate people’s moods, or bring them down.
There is a lot of power in the spoken and written word. Words can even guide us through life.
3. Words Can Wake Us Up
In marketing, the words we use can make or break a campaign. If you say “cheap” instead of “inexpensive” you get two very different mental images.
Words create visual experiences, they create feelings, and they can help bring people into your marketing or keep them out if they’re not ideal clients.
Choosing the metaphor or words you include in your blog posts, program names, or marketing copy is just as important as what you want to deliver.
Take for example the word bullet. The bullet is fast, it’s targeted, and it has a very distinct visual effect. On the other hand a cloud is completely different: it’s soft, is pushed by the wind, and has a completely dreamy feel to it.
Seeing the word bullet in the name of a program or a blog post would wake me up whereas a cloud would lull me to sleep.
How to Use Noteworthy Words
“Books aren’t written- they’re rewritten. Including your own. It is one of the hardest things to accept, especially after the seventh rewrite hasn’t quite done it.” – Michael Crichton
When it comes to using powerful, noteworthy words the best way to approach your writing is by rewriting. The first pass is where you write down your ideas as they come to you. The second pass is where you edit, you rephrase, and find more powerful words.
During the rewriting process, the thesaurus is going to be your best friend. So is google. The thing here isn’t that you want to replace simple words with complex words. On the contrary, sometimes shorter more common words pack more of a punch.
Take for example: Are you holding onto extra weight?
And compare it to: Are you feeling bloated and fat?
I often have a hard time with this one, because I love and respect my potential clients so much that I want to shelter them from harsh words. But the reality is that these words already exist in their own mind, they likely repeat them to themselves often.
They’re not thinking about “losing weight”, they’re worried about “being fat”. If I don’t address their thoughts exactly then I’m doing them a disservice by skipping over their real worries.
Chris Guillebeau also does this really well and he’s very conscious of it. Each of his books, programs, and articles are expertly named.
Another person who is excellent with words is Danielle LaPorte. Her writing literally leaps off the page to grab your attention until you read every last word.
Now you know words matter, but don’t let these ideas paralyze you into writer’s block. Write your first drafts, brainstorm your program names, and then go back with a new eye to find the right words.
I’d also challenge you to read every day to sharpen your word choosing skills.
We’ve come full circle back to the importance of books. I believe that books are special because they have been edited, are of a high caliber, and deliver their message in a highly palatable form.
Go ahead and comment below with your thoughts on how words have impacted your life.
Were there any specific words that woke you up, got you moving, or otherwise seemed memorable?