Consider your language carefully; words have weight

I did a radio interview this week on the language our political leaders are using in the current campaign and whether that makes a difference to voters.

While we know our words make up a relatively small percentage of our total communication – body language and tone play a bigger role – make no mistake: words have weight.

It’s interesting to look at the language styles of the leaders of the two main parties. One uses a fair degree of government-speak that risks making eyes glaze over because it doesn’t immediately relate to people’s daily lives. The other uses far more “you” language that appeals directly to the listener.

Research tells us that complex language reduces trust, and it has nothing to do with the intelligence or socioeconomic status of the listener. In our time-poor world, even highly qualified intellectuals don’t want to work hard to understand the meaning of sentences.

Of course, clear language isn’t the only factor in winning voters’ hearts and minds – my comments here aren't meant as a political statement.

But we can all take something from our pollies’ performances: to cut through with your message, use simple words your audience will know, cite examples that connect with their emotions and check that your meaning is clear.

Neryl EastComment