By Kathy Widenhouse, award-winning nonprofit content writer, website publisher, and author of 9 books.
An online devotional for writers
Pleasant words are persuasive. (Proverbs 16:21, NLT)
Research shows that a positive word is persuasive. And it can have long-lasting effects on readers and listeners alike.
In contrast, writers have long been taught to tap into fear and greed. By addressing those emotions, say copywriting gurus, you’re more likely to persuade readers to adopt your idea, buy your product, or support your cause.
That may be true. But “a positive and optimistic [word] stimulate(s) frontal lobe activity,” say Andrew Newberg, M.D., neuroscientist at Thomas Jefferson University, and communications expert Mark Robert Waldman in their book, Words Can Change Your Brain. “The longer you concentrate on positive words, the more you begin to affect other areas of the brain.”
Here’s how it works. As positive words infiltrate the frontal lobe – your brain’s language centers – they move you to action (by connecting to your motor cortex). Over time, those more positive actions impact your sensory and perception skills (by working in the parietal lobe) – and ultimately, the structure of your physiology (headquartered in your thalamus).
In other words, positive words shared repeatedly over time impact your reader. Words literally change your brain.
This was not news to King Solomon. Even without research in hand, he told us, “Pleasant words are persuasive” (Proverbs 16:21, NLT).
If you want to persuade your readers, write a positive word. Often.
A positive word is persuasive.
Thank you for the persuasive power of a positive word. Let me use my writing to build up and edify my readers.
In Jesus’s name, Amen.
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