Motivational Language Pattern # 1
by Christina Kaya

"Four out of five dentists recommend this toothpaste!" "He'll notice the difference!" "Tried, tested and true!" These are familiar advertising slogans, and there is more to them than meets the eye, or the ears. Advertising is full of "motivational language patterns".

Language, as a representation of our experience, has been analyzed to determine particular traits or patterns with respect to how people are motivated to do something. When a speaker suggests something in a particular way, the listener can be motivated (or not) to accept the suggestion. We all tend to motivate others with what motivates us, so we can often "miss the mark" when asking for buy-in from someone who is motivated differently than ourselves.

The advertising slogans above represent a pattern of "external" reference. In other words, the evidence that the product is worth buying comes from an external source. The buyer is motivated by the professional opinion of dentists, the attention of a significant other, and that "somebody" who tried and tested the vehicle to claim that it is "true". To motivate people with this trait, include references, let them know about the positive feedback that has been received, and provide testimonials.

What about those people who are the opposite and fall under the "internal" reference trait for motivation? They have to receive free samples, conduct a test drive for themselves, and their own opinion is paramount. They need to hear phrases like "you can decide. it's up to you. you can consider." so that they can process the information themselves and make a decision.

Can changing the words you use actually change minds? Numerous studies in the field of linguistics have tracked and identified patterns of human behaviour, including motivational traits. But don't take their word for it. You might want to consider trying out some of these words that change minds and then it will be up to you - you can decide for yourself!

Christina Kaya is Principal of Kayaco Seminars, specializing in presentation skills development for business. She can be contacted at


Email:    Telephone: ( 647) 999-3916
Contents copyright 2000, Kayaco Inc.. All Rights Reserved.
Read our Web site
disclaimer. Read about your privacy.
Best viewed at 800 by 600 screen resolution. This site uses JavaScript and Macromedia Flash.
Web site designed and managed by: Imagination Plus