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, 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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.