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Linguistical Pitfalls Part Two


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Well. . .it seems like some of my readers have been paying careful attention. I like that. A while back I wrote an article about the eight most common avoidable pitfalls in language--but, if, try and might. Hey, that's not eight! What are the other four? Several people commented on my blog that I was utilizing the open loop method of persuasion by saying there were eight, and only revealing four. Was this intentional? Maybe.

Whether it was intentional or not, it seems to have worked with several folks enough for them to call up my assistant and e-mail me asking for the other four.

Well. . . if you've been awaiting in eager anticipation part two, thanks.

The first three of the final four: would have, could have, should have (woulda, coulda, shoulda).

The problem with these phrases is that they're all in past tense. While this doesn't seem on the surface to be problematic, they can have a seriously negative impact on your persuasion message.

As persuaders, we want to be in the present, staying with now, so that they can see themselves acting immediately. It's never a good idea to put people in their heads, into the past because we want them with us. As the spiritual teacher from the sixties and seventies coined it, 'be here now'. We want our clients and prospects to be here now with us. We're selling them in the present, and they're buying in the present.

A lot of time this sort of nostalgic allows people to spin off into regret and whining, 'I should have done this. I could have had this. I would have been so much better off. . . '

Last but not least. . .

Can't. I had a high school teach who forbid us from using this word. It's in a class of words called 'negations'. Negations, used the way most people use them, can pose a serious threat to your persuasion message, and in fact, can nullify your message entirely.

Take for example the sentence: "You can't use negations". This, in essence, forces your mind to first picture yourself using negations which then negates your ability to use them.

What happens when you say to yourself, "I just can't sleep." Well. . .it turns out, you can't sleep.

Negations force the mind to think of the one thing you don't want to think about. The most important element to persuasion is to get your prospect imagining themselves, creating a mental image, of them doing what you want them to do.

Words like "can't" create the very image you don't want the person to make.

There are some very powerful and creative ways to use negation -- just be careful that you use it properly or not at all until you're comfortable with it.

So now that you've gotten part two, are you happy?
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