I recently came across Words Can Change Your Brain, a book by Andrew Newberg and Mark Robert Waldman. It’s a great book that explores “12 conversation strategies to build trust, resolve conflict and increase intimacy.”
So what does this have to do with presentations?
Well, the authors tell us “a single word has the power to influence genes that regulate physical and emotional stress.” So, if just one word can have such a huge impact on an individual, this means we should be choosing our words carefully, on and off the speaking platform.
Newberg and Waldman elaborate on their theme, explaining that “language shapes our behavior.” They say that “the right words, spoken in the right way, can bring us love, money, and respect, while the wrong words – or even the right words spoken in the wrong way – can lead a country to war.”
So if words can be this powerful, we can see how this should be considered when we’re planning the spoken part of our presentations, so that at intensive and crucial communication moments, when a presenter has only one opportunity to convey the right message and trigger the desired reaction among the audience, that opportunity isn’t wasted.
So we can’t agree more when Newberg and Waldman say “we must carefully orchestrate our speech if we want to achieve our goals (…).”
With this in mind, I asked myself, so what are the right words, what are the most powerful presentation words we can use in our speeches?
I searched the web for “powerful and persuasive words” and I found this post at The 5 Most Persuasive Words in the English Language. Here, Gregory Ciotti tells us, “there are certain power words that hold more sway over our decision making process than others.”
So, what are the words?
- The “the power of invoking the self” exists, and studies have proven it. People like to feel special and acknowledged, and so they tend to pay more attention when they hear the word, “you.” But if you happen to have a small audience, address people by their own names. Hearing your name has even more impact than hearing “you.” So don’t forget, make your audience members feel special, and they’ll listen more attentively.
- People like having the reasons for things. It’s been proven we’ll act or react as requested by a message sender if he/she tells us “why.” Tells us “because.” So when writing your speech, remember to explain the reasons behind what you’re asking your audience to do. If you do this, you should see great results.
- As Gregory Ciotti says, “Everybody loves free.” Yes, it’s natural to like something that’s offered, as opposed to something that we have to pay for. But we recommend that you use “free” with care. Use it only when it truly makes sense, and when it helps you attain your goal.
- Words like “instantly,” “immediately” and even “fast” trigger attention, because people “envision instant rewards.” The fact is that we live in a busy and fast world, so we do tend to like things that move fast and happen instantly. And so words that imply quickness trigger automatic attention. Also, they convey a sense of urgency, so use them sparingly. If you use such words with every other slide, they lose their power.
- Studies show that novelty activates the brain’s reward center. We feel good about ourselves when we have something new, or when we’re the first to know about something. So when preparing your presentation, make sure you bring something new to your audience. And don’t forget to let them know that what you’re sharing is actually something new. This way, your audience feels they’re witnessing something important and should pay attention.
So now that you know some Powerful Presentations Words, remember to use them when preparing presentations and speeches, because they’ll certainly help you “to speak more persuasively” and to achieve your presentation goals more effectively.