As soon as I saw this book in an airport bookstore, I added it to my TBR pile. Magic Words: What to Say to Get Your Way, by Jonah Berger. Are you kidding me? Take my money. Getting my way is one of my most favourite things.
Berger notes that we use around sixteen thousand words each day (some of us more…). But while we spend a lot of time using language, we give relatively little thought to the specific words we use.We may think our ideas are most important, and the words we use are inconsequential.
But we would be wrong.
Berger lays out a number of tips and tricks to help us communicate more effectively, some small and some big, and all backed by studies.
As usual, if this sounds like your jam, you should totally read the book. If you’re short on time or attention for the whole book but interested in tips to be a more influential communicator, my favourite three takeaways are below.
One of my favourite kinds of science is the kind that help me understand how to get people to do what I want them to do…for the betterment of society, of course. This is a consistent theme in my TBR pile.
I recently finished Infuence Is Your Superpower: The Science of Winning Hearts, Sparking Change and Making Good Things Happen, by Zoe Chance.
This book is an incredible cocktail of memorable stories and scientific research about how to be more persuasive in an ethical way. Adam Grant calls it “An engaging book on the science of encouraging other people to say yes.”
If this stuff is interesting to you, you should read the whole book. Chance explains conscious and subconscious decisions with a whole Gater and Judge bit that makes it easy to understand (finally) why facts aren’t as persuasive as we think they are. The insights about the Path of Least Resistance and Framing are really useful, as is the explanation about why changing someone’s mind won’t necessarily change their behaviour.
But in this post, I’m sharing my single most significant takeaway for those of us out here disrupting for good, that can be implemented immediately with tremendous impact: the Magic Question.
I'm Jennifer. I am an advocacy and communications strategist working with multiple charities and nonprofits. And I want to disrupt our sector for good.