Michael Fishman, the word guru and business coach once said: “The business you have is a function of the words you choose to describe it, and if you change the words on a particular day, the business changes. “ Therefore, the words that you choose to communicate with your audience online are incredibly important, especially in this context, as there are no other cues to support your statements. As a result, you need to choose your words carefully!

Today, I will give you 3 strategies that are based on the psychology of language and persuasion that will help you transcend distances with words.

Strategy #1: Develop an Arsenal of Bullet Proof Words

In order to be heard by your audience, you need to think not FOR your customer but AS your customer: listen to their comments, to their email replies, and to their online forum discussions. What words do they use in order to communicate their frustrations and their dreams?

a. Choose easily digestible words:

Michael Fishman suggests that even if you write for a more sophisticated crowd you will want to aim for 100% comprehension AND 100% interpretation, and for this you need to simplify your words.

People who use words of Anglo Saxon origins are most easily understood, while words of Latin origin are more often more complex and tend to be used by people who want to sound smart, though the words themselves are not as readily understood. Often when you use smart sounding words people can feel intimidated and insecure around you.

b. Develop a collection of magic words and phrases

Words can make your products sound cheap or they can make them sound valuable… (You can eat in this restaurant or you can dine in it). You can refer to your services as “information” or as “material” like the multi-millionaire entrepreneur Ramit Sethi does.

Virgin Airlines knows this secret and refers to the flying customers as “guests”. They also use “we hope you enjoyed your experience with us today”, phrase when landing. They want to emphasize that flying with Virgin is an experience and it elevates their services exponentially.

Strategy #2: Create Undefeated Word Structures

The way you pack your words together is also very important.

a. Craft an argument that passes an “elevator pitch test”

Often when we try to convince others to do something, we overuse words trying to compensate for our own fear that we are not convincing enough. A great argument is short and sweet. Nelson Mandela’s historic speech that he delivered after 27 years of being in prison and that marked the end of apartheid in SA took less than 5 minutes. You got the point!

b. Create an if- then correlation.

Cause an effect arguments are really hard to beat. They are easily understood and visualized. Provide both negative causes (ex: what will happen if the customer does not buy the product, or if the student does not follow your directions), as well as positive ones, what great things will happen if they do!

Strategy #3: Augment Your Words With Numbers

Your carefully selected and orchestrated words can greatly benefit from the numbers.

a. Pack your backup points in 3s

3 is a magical number indeed. Those who mastered the art of storytelling and standup comedy know this secret. Write down 3 main points that support your core argument—think of these as 3 main points for your audience to take home with them. Research shows that if you give your audience more than 3 points they all of your points tend to become one big blur.

d. Use actual numbers for your backup points

Compare two statements:

“Psychological tricks to transcend distances” vs. “3 psychological tricks to transcend distances”

Watch a video: http://effectiveonlineteaching.org/2012/11/14/how-to-be-persuasive-onlin...

Author's Bio: 

Marina V. Kostina, PhD is a distance learning expert, a trainer and an online business coach. She received her doctorate in Teaching & Learning / Distance Learning from the University of Iowa. She is passionate about research in human psychology in distance learning environments and building connections online to transcend distances