NLP has taught me a lot about how people experience words. By carefully considering your words, you can change the whole mood that people get left with.

I recently posted a Facebook update: For those that missed it, here’s my popular ‘Modern Vacation’ video spot (don’t worry – just 36 seconds!): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gt0Bs0frEnM

Once I’d posted it, I re-read it and realized it used language poorly. The evocative words in the post are:

  • popular
  • worry
  • just 36 seconds

As people read each word, they access the meaning of that word and any associated feelings unconsciously. What then comes to mind is a gestalt of those meanings and feelings. How’d I do?

  • popular – evokes ideas of something desirable
  • worry – evokes the sense that something’s wrong
  • just 36 seconds – implies that it’s fortunate that there’s not much of it

Once through the reflection process, it makes sense to ask what feelings I’d like to leave the reader with. Excitement, curiousity, and a desire to see the video would be a better frame of mind for the reader. Here’s my rewrite:

For those that missed it, here’s my popular ‘Modern Vacation’ video spot (the best 36 seconds you’ll have all day): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gt0Bs0frEnM

Try reading both versions back-to-back and notice which images and feelings each one leaves you with. It’s subtle, but it has an impact. When you’re writing a longer piece of writing (like a podcast episode or an article), what you write will move people through a series of images and feelings. Think carefully about the sequence! The emotions you evoke may be positive (desire) or negative (fear), but if it’s negative, you probably want to lead somewhere else, like hope or resolution. The feelings people have when reading your material get connected to their concept of you. That’s called branding.

Go forth. Write with emotion. And make sure the emotions leave people in a good place. Giving people nice emotions is good for them, and you’ll find it’s good for you, as well.

An NLP hint on writing and emotion

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