Career Boosting Newsletter

Sign up now to receive your free subscription to the Cutting Edge PR e-News newsletter, packed with cutting-edge news and information specifically for PR people. You can unsubscribe at any time.

* = required

Current Newsletter

To view the current issue of Cutting Edge PR e-News, click here.

Free Articles

A great resource for learning more about key areas of public relations practice, which will help your career path. You can read about the following topics:
PR plans
PR and the internet
PR ethics
Employee communication
Change communication
Employee recognition
Crisis communication
PR management
Media relations
Event management
Corporate reputation
Core PR skills
Marketing communication
Communication measurement
Speeches and presentation
Investor relations
Visual communication

Browse free articles


"Kim, just wanted to say thanks for a fantastically informative site."

Paula Hanson


Read our testimonials

You can tap into powerful, but understated words of influence

Background words can be a simple, but convincing means of influence. Robert Cialdini discusses some fascinating examples in his new book, Pre-suasion.

One of Cialdiniís discussion points is the way an outstanding US health service even goes to the extent of aligning terms used in internal communication with its corporate healthful values and medical ethics. This highly successful non-profit organization even goes to the extent of avoiding violent metaphors generally taken for granted and commonly used elsewhere.

The organization uses achievement-related words such as goal and outdistance, but prohibits the use of words with menacing associations such as target, beat, mission and combat (disease). They donít use bullet points; they use information points or dot points. They donít attack a problem; they approach it

.All this may seem a bit corny, but it works. Several studies have shown that subtly exposing people to words that signify achievement, such as win, attain, succeed, and master, increases their performance on an assigned task and more than doubles their willingness to keep working at it.

So when you see a business office or call center where posters are prominently placed with messages in big font urging people to OVERCOME, SUCCEED, PERSEVERE or ACHIEVE, take note Ė these actually work.

Quite often these urgings are accompanied by photographs or illustrations. Research shows these work as well. For instance, a Canadian study found fundraisers in a call center were given information on paper carrying a photo of a runner winning a race. By the end of their 3-hour shifts, these callers had raised 60% more money than their comparable co-workers.

Conclusion: Initial incidental exposure to simple words or images can have a pre-suasive impact on later actions that are merely associated with the words or images.