Words Matter: 3 Rationales for Using Noteworthy Words

chris-guillebeau-aonc-signing

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.

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.

There are people who are great at excavating the words that are in their prospect’s minds. Some of my favorites are Naomi Dunford, Laura Belgray, Marie Forleo, and Laura Roeder.

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?

Nathalie Lussier

 

10 Responses to Words Matter: 3 Rationales for Using Noteworthy Words

  1. Hi Nathalie! What a wonderful topic. I just signed up for an ebook workshop and the timing couldn’t be more perfect for me. I’ve wanted to write some kind of book for a loooong time and have tons of my thoughts saved in documents or in writing. It seems I never got past that point. Now, I’m going for it. I tend to do things backwards, so I figured I’d learn the back end of publishing an ebook on amazon/kindle, then work on my book. I’m super excited about it!!!!

    I have words on my site to attract who I want to work with and “repel” who isn’t my ideal fit. It’s definitely a work of art to strike the right balance, without offending, being serious, being kind, and being YOU.

    Really enjoy the kindness that shows through in your blog posts ;-)

    • @melodygranger Hey Melody! Ooh good for you for getting to know the ebook process, that sounds really exciting. It’s funny how you work backwards from the end result, I think that’s a really cool way of doing things.

      Finding the right words is definitely a work of art! I guess that’s why writers are artists, and vice versa. :)

  2. Love this Nathalie! I’m a fellow bookworm and fan of all the people you mention here. And while I can’t come up with a specific example (at a loss for words – ha!) of how words have made an impact on me. They simply do. Everyday.
    While a post may not change my life, I will say that blogs have. It’s always nice to have a book for something more ‘defined’ but I do love that the Internet has given us this ongoing, living word sharing capability.

    • @LynnCrymble At a loss for words, you crack me up Lynn! ;) Thanks for sharing, and I totally agree that blogs have changed my life. I think there’s something powerful about blogs vs. books because there’s the communication, community, and aliveness that a book doesn’t have. I guess we’re stuck with both. ;)

  3. Great post Nathalie! I had the pleasure of meeting Chris when he came to Hawaii and his comment about books, not blog posts, changing his life rang definitely resonated with me. I remember specific books and specific passages that helped me make huge shifts in my life, business or mindset. I don’t read books nearly as often as I used to and that’s something I want to improve on this year!

    • @StephenieZ Hi Stephenie! I know what you mean when it comes to not reading books as much as you used to… in high school I read a lot, then I went to college and my “on the side” reading dropped in favor of textbooks and stuff. I was SO happy to get back to reading after I graduated. :) I have a feeling you’ll be able to incorporate more book reading this year… :D

  4. Awesome post! Words are so prevalent that their true power often goes unnoticed. I have certainly come to take words for granted and am only now utilizing their power by writing. I too used to be quite the bookworm, but find it harder and harder to pick up a book these days. I usually justify my lack of reading actual books by constantly reading blogs, but as Chris pointed out, there is a big difference! Many books have changed my life and I’m glad you reminded me of this. I will definitely make a point to read more, write more, and appreciate the power of the word.

    • @JonHearty Hey Jon! I can totally relate to “not being able to read as much as you used to”… and it’s something I’ve had to consciously make more time for.

      Yes yes yes – to the power of the word! ;)