“Words, words, mere words” wrote Shakespeare, but using just the right words makes all the difference in how we view the world around us.
If we want to buy extra lean ground beef to feed our families, we might choose meat that has been enhanced with boneless lean beef trimmings that have no fat. However, if we called this additive beef scraps turned into paste and treated with ammonia, we’d never buy it – especially if it was known as pink slime. Had the name pink slime never caught on there’s a good chance we’d still be eating burgers including it today. Words make a difference.
Republican pollster Dr. Frank Luntz authored the book,Words that Work, and he coaches political candidates on using words that resonate with voters. For example, the public had little objection to the estate tax law until Luntz came up with the politically charged term death tax. Voters might oppose tax breaks for Exxon to drill for oil, but they are likely to be in favor of laws that encourage exploring for energy.
So, as this political season heats up, remember the other guy has a different frame than you do. He’ll choose words that work for him, and you’ll recast them so that they work for you, even though you are both referring to the same thing.
“The difference between the almost right word & the right word is really a large matter–it’s the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning”. – Mark Twain