Link to this page

The Response: Use the Power of Positive Words to Get Your Reader to Act

Award-winning writer Kathy Widenhouse has helped hundreds of nonprofits and writers produce successful content and has gained 600K+ views for her writing tutorials. She is the author of 9 books. See more of Kathy’s content here.

An online devotional for writers

A Word From The Word

Everyone enjoys a fitting reply; it is wonderful to say the right thing at the right time! (Proverbs 15:23, NLT)

A Word For Writers

Positive words (“I agree” and “good idea!”) are the ultimate power words – terms that arouse a reader’s feelings and move her to respond.

The Response: use more positive than negative words to get strongest reader response. A devotional for writers with Word Wise at Nonprofit Copywriter #FreelanceWriting #ChristianWriting

Studies bear this out. 

Researchers Emily Heaphy (University of Michigan) and consultant Marcial Losada tested the effectiveness of 60 leadership teams. The significant factor between the most and least successful teams, they discovered, was the ratio of positive comments to negative comments teams exchanged. 

The highest-performing teams exchanged 5.6 positive comments for every 1 negative comment – nearly a 6 to 1 ratio.

Meanwhile, the lowest-performing teams exchanged 0.36 negative comments for every 1 negative comment. That is, they offset every three negative comments with just 1 positive comment.

It’s not that the more successful teams spoke only unicorns-and-lollipops into each other’s lives. Constructive criticism is part of their mix, allowing team members to pay attention and make improvements.

They simply used it judiciously … while generously choosing positive words nearly six to one.

Solomon put it well: it is wonderful to say the right thing at the right time.

A Wise Word

Positive words are powerful.

A Word To Pray

Heavenly Father,

I need discernment. Show me when to use positive language as I write. Reveal when I need negative words to get a reader’s attention and make a point. Let me say the right thing at the right time.

In Jesus’s name, Amen.

More Devotionals for Writers

The Long-Tail Keyword: Mark Used Specifics in His Gospel. Shouldn't You?

The Trigger Word: Special Content Writing Keywords Move Us to Act...

Extra Words: How to Cut Them Out (and Why You Should) ...

The Word Count: It's a Good Reason to Quit Babbling ...

Six Words: The Case for Clear Headlines and Ad Copy...

Wise Words: Devotionals for Writers ...

More Devotionals for Writers on our Pinterest Board ...

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Powered by SBI! Learn more here.
Enjoy this page? Please pay it forward. Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.

Search This Site

Share This Page


Named to 2022 Writer's Digest list

Get Free Writing Tips

Stop Wasting Time!

Grab your exclusive FREE guide, "5 Simple Writing Tips You Can Put to Use in 10 Minutes or Less"

XML RSSSubscribe To This Site
  • follow us in feedly
  • Add to My Yahoo!