One of the best things about what we do is working with words. We love them. We love reading them to research clients and their areas of business and one of the cool things we do is we get to write them. Lots of them.

Yesterday, while meeting a client to review some web copy that we had drafted for them, we had a conversation about language, tone and the words we use. She shared the story of a training session she had been on when she was working for KPMG. They were looking at language and how the words that the consultants used, when delivering feedback, could inspire clients rather than focusing on the hard task of change management in difficult situations.

The exercise that they were given was this. Think of a famous speech – Churchill’s ‘Fight on the Beaches’ or Martin Luther King’s ‘I have a dream’.

Now paraphrase these speeches using different words not used in the speech. See what impact it has on the messages, delivery and power of the text and the words used.

Imagine how different things could have been if Martin Luther King had said this…

“It’s cool that we’re all together today because one night when I was sleeping, I dreamt a few things. I dreamt that some workers and their bosses sat down together. In the dream, things really changed. I dreamt that my four kids went on to live happily ever after and where it was only their personalities that were taken into consideration when you met them…”

You get the picture. Words can be extremely powerful and, used correctly, can go on to inspire a generation, win wars and help a business to survive!

At the start of the year, it’s worth spending some time reviewing the copy that you use in brochures, sales materials, packaging and on your website. Does it work for you? Is it still up-to-date or could you do with a refresh? Could it be clearer and more powerful?

Be inspired and ensure that you use concise language with strong words to help you to deliver your message and get you more sales.

Here’s a link to the full Martin Luther King speech