The Most Persuasive Word Ever?

Last week, this article hit the Huffington Post. It immediately went “viral” and even ended up being discussed on The Today Show. Lots of people have commented, so I thought I’d try and set the record straight.

The word is “Because”. Like the rest of the Magic Words, you must understand why it’s magical. You can’t just throw the word into every sentence and expect to be a better communicator.

While “because” does satisfy the brain’s need for causation, I believe the real reason it is so magical is because of our heart’s need for purpose and meaning.

Why do we go to work? Why do we exercise? Why do we discipline children? Why do we do anything? Without a strong enough “because”, it’s very difficult to move people to action.

When using “because”, please have a genuine, authentic reason. It doesn’t help anybody to make up reasons just for the sake of cramming in the word “because”. As one commenter put it, that will just make lying easier and easier for you. Speaking of lying…

The Danger of Inauthentic Persuasion

The New York Times ran this book review.

Initially positive, the review takes a turn for the worse when it begins discussing the nature of persuasive techniques as “stopgap mechanisms to help the narcissist function effectively” and sums everything up with, “Ultimately, even the most magical words cannot replace the power of sustained integrity or cushion the devastation that comes from misplaced faith”.

Who said anything about replacing?

Every word you say either builds human connection or tears it down. I think it’s a good idea – no, a GREAT idea – to know the magic behind your words so you can use them more intelligently. Too many people spit out words with the best of intentions, but they end up with the worst results. Stop using power tools without the proper training. It’s dangerous.

Science is pulling back the curtain on the human brain and we know much more about how communication really works. Shouldn’t we USE that information?

I believe that understanding people creates more understanding people.

I get it. People HATE to be manipulated. We all want to feel like we can choose our own path and make our own decisions. We view freedom as an inalienable human right.  Worth fighting for. Worth dying for.

So here’s an idea…DON’T BE MANIPULATIVE.

Focus on OTHER people’s needs first. Have a servant’s heart and mindset. To do that, sometimes the best thing you can do is be persuasive.

I plan on persuading my children to avoid drug and alcohol abuse. I plan on using every dang “trick” in the book. I’m not going to be a passive bystander and watch as an “experiment” potentially ruins their lives.

I think we should be persuading the people we care about to exercise more and eat healthier, to not text while driving, to follow their dreams, to increase their happiness and fulfillment, and on and on and on.

If your heart is in the right place, if you genuinely care about your customers, if you are authentically concerned about your employees well-being…

Then you aren’t “tricking” anybody. You’re loving them.

This week, be more intentional and mindful with all your communication.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about persuasion. Please comment below.

3 thoughts on “The Most Persuasive Word Ever?

  1. Charlie Seymour Jr

    I’m with you all the way, Tim. And “because” has been one of my magic words for years, based on the same “photocopier study.”

    And now I teach my sales team to have a reason… always. Don’t just stated something, show the reason (which is what follows the “because.”

    Really enjoying your book!

    Charlie Seymour Jr

  2. Warren Young

    I agree, ABSOLUTELY, Tim. Words are simply tools, and they can be used either to build or to destroy … much like chainsaws. I, too, am enjoying your book. Keep up the good work.
    Warren Young


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