As much as well-written novels, movies and ads can make us laugh or cry, so can a well-written profile page, CV and website can be the make or break it point to progress in our career and business.
Words are powerful especially those that tap into emotions and with that trigger actions.
The human brain is wired to act when we (want to) feel a certain way and every decision we make based on whether we want to get rewarded (increase pleasure) or to avoid loss (decrease pain).
Power words are words that evoke emotion and action. They make people feel things and do things as a result of their feelings.
The words that can make us act a certain way are so called Power words and there are hundreds of them, resulting in different emotional responses.
Whether we admit it or not, show it or not, are aware of it or not – most of our decisions are based on emotions first and we justify it with logic afterwards.
The easiest but also most effective way to make someone do something is by making them feel something.
This something can be excitement, empowerment, joy, fun, freedom…
Words trigger our mind to associate specific pictures with it.
Take the test: what comes to your mind when you hear ‘wealth’ or ‘abuse’?
Probably very different pictures and most likely, you have an emotion tied to that picture which is rooted in your personal experience.
The more vivid this picture is associated to a word, the stronger the emotional response to it is.
And there is no difference to when we describe ourselves or by someone else.
Please meet John. John is a great Digital Marketing Manager.
Please meet Sarah. Sarah is relentless.
See the difference?
It is human’s nature to categorise people but the good news is that we can take control over what we want others to associate with us to make them act and react a certain way – ideally in favour of our goals.
However, building a strong and compelling brand that causes those desired actions doesn’t happen overnight.
Your Brand =
a sum of your actions constantly and consistently matching your positioning, and you need to be intentional in thought and action.
This way you can determine the immediate and direct connection people make when they see, hear, or think about you.
In order to do that, you first and foremost need to be crystal clear what you want to stand for and what you want others to think of you – especially when they make the introduction of you to a stranger.
When described as “great", however remarkable in degree or effectiveness he may be, John seems like – however unfairly – just one of many. He doesn't standout.
But “relentless” – who can forget relentless?
Hear the word and you instantly think of someone so determined, so persevering, so persistent and tenacious that nothing, absolutely nothing, can stand in her way.
A “great” digital marketing manager you might forget.
A “relentless” digital marketing manager you remember for a long, long time.
Plus: it is the word relentless that makes her stand out.
People will remember this attribute to her personality rather than her profession.
What if she wants to change career path and become a project manager, coach or business owner down the track?
Well – she will have the credibility much easier and quicker as people associate her with her ability to be persistent, determined, … all good qualities - soft skills that can be transferred to any role, industry or job that is in demand or desired at that time.
Find your own Personal Power Words
You can see that being clear about the words that represents you and your strengths can go a long way toward you reaching your goal – may it be to get the promotion, the dream job or the perfect clients, staff, co-founders or investors for your own business.
When you choose your words, ask yourself these questions:
1.) What do I want to achieve in my career/business?
2.) Does the word fit to my values and what I stand for? (Think about your day to day routine; what do you like about it and want others to remember about you? If you want to stand for an energetic coach but constantly use soft and calming words it will be confusing)
3.) How do I want my audience to feel?
4.) How do I want my audience to act?
This is what successful brands do really well: they own a single word that comes to people’s mind straight away when thinking about them.
Volvo – ‘safety’ Hubspot – ‘inbound’ Apple – ‘innovation’
This is the ultimate goal of branding and should be yours too:
Create an immediate and direct connection in the minds of your audience that benefits your goal.
But as much as you need to be clear about those attributes you want to be remembered by to reflect your actions, you also need to have a reality check and see what others already think of you.
So go on … If you were to ask your colleague or boss or a client to describe you with one word (great, terrific, fantastic, awesome is NOT allowed) … what would it be?
Think of words like:
Insightful, Relatable, Determined, Inspiring …
Download a list of attributes to get more inspiration HERE
You see - what counts and this is what Personal Branding is all about:
It is not about you, it is about what others say about you.
Your turn to take control
Now you know the words that you feel most appropriate representing you and what others would say about you, write them down, pin them up and keep them in constant reach.
Always check in on them when you write, create a post, record a video or design marketing material to ensure your Brand is consistent, authentic and compelling.
To make you more accountable and get your Brand Journey started, share one word in the comments below. Just the simple act of writing it down and share it gets you in the routine of making things happen and with that – making an impaCCCt.
To kick things off – the word I’d like people to associate with me is: inspiring.
What is your Power Word?
BONUS: Here are some of my favourite resources about using Power Words: