What a Difference a Word Makes



Whether it's on social media platforms, your website, in emails, ad campaigns, or even in person, effectively communicating who your company is and what it does is what want to convey to your audience, right? So, choosing the right words can have a big impact on your audience's reactions. Inc magazine cautions, "Emotions play a major role...Never lose sight of how potential customers want to feel: Safer, healthier, smarter, more attractive…."

In 2017, The Huffington Post did a piece about persuasive words every sales rep should know. The article sites a 2012 study by social psychologist, Ellen Langer. The idea was to see which of three differently worded scripts would get the best response. The study participants went on-site to companies and were tasked with approaching office staff in the copy room with a request.

Here are the three scripts and the results:

1. “Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the xerox machine?”

• 60% responded positively.


2. “Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the xerox machine, because I have to make copies?"

• 93% positive responded positively.


3. “Excuse me, I'm in a rush. Can I please use the xerox machine?"

• 94% allowed the study participant to make copies first.


Langer said, "If a reason was presented to the subject, he or she would be more likely to comply than if no reason was presented, even if the reason conveyed no information. The single word because made all the difference."