Words That Work Book Summary - Words That Work Book explained in key points
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Words That Work summary

Frank Luntz

It’s Not What You Say, It’s What People Hear

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Brief summary

Words That Work by Frank Luntz provides insights into the art of communication. It outlines methods to create effective message that resonates with people. This book is a must-read for anyone who wants to master the power of words and influence others.

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    Words That Work
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    Similar words can prompt different reactions among different people – effective communication is about considering your audience.

    Have you ever found yourself in a situation where your words were totally misinterpreted? Have you thought you were saying one thing only to find the other person heard something entirely different?

    If this has happened to you, there are likely some flaws in how you communicate; that is to say, your words have failed you. But you’re not alone. In fact, flawed language habits are so widespread that we encounter misunderstandings in everything from politics to business to everyday life.

    This is the case because everyone has a different understanding of words. As such, two different words that technically denote the same thing can elicit entirely different reactions.

    For instance, “welfare” and “assistance to the poor” essentially mean the same thing. But if you ask Americans, only 23 percent will say that the country is spending too little on welfare, while 68 percent think there is too little “assistance to the poor.”

    Clearly, different ways of communicating the same idea hold contrasting connotations. So, while “welfare” conjures up images of “welfare queens” and wasteful government spending, “assistance to the poor” reminds people of charity and Christian compassion.

    Effective communication isn’t about your message or what your words objectively mean, but rather how people understand them. It’s essential to consider your audience’s preconceptions, especially their beliefs and fears.

    Take the English novelist George Orwell, who knew this well and whose famous book 1984 played on the deep personal fears of his readers.

    For instance, one passage describes “Room 101” as a place where one is confronted with her greatest fears. Since the fears of every reader are different, Room 101 became associated with the personal nightmares of any given reader.

    But how can you make sure your message is understood as you intended? In the next blinks, you’ll learn more about the main pillars of exceptional communication.

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    What is Words That Work about?

    Words That Work (2007) is a guide to getting your point across more efficiently and effectively. These blinks explain the power of language and how it can help you in any number of situations, from business to political discussions to getting out of a traffic ticket.

    Words That Work Review

    Words That Work (2007) by Frank Luntz is an insightful book that explores the power of language and how words can shape opinions and influence others. Here's why this book is definitely worth reading:

    • Full of practical techniques and strategies, it equips readers with the necessary tools to communicate effectively and achieve desired outcomes.
    • Using a wide range of real-life examples and case studies, the book demonstrates the impact of persuasive language in various contexts, from politics to business.
    • With its engaging narrative and thought-provoking insights, this book manages to make the topic of language and communication highly engaging and far from boring.

    Best quote from Words That Work

    Its not what you say, its what people hear.

    —Frank Luntz
    example alt text

    Who should read Words That Work?

    • Anyone who wants to communicate more effectively
    • Academics interested in the hidden power of language

    About the Author

    Dr. Frank Luntz is a renowned pollster and public opinion guru who regularly works as a communications consultant for American politicians. He has led over 1,500 surveys and focus groups, and has contributed to numerous political and corporate campaigns.

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    Words That Work FAQs 

    What is the main message of Words That Work?

    The main message of Words That Work is the power of effective communication.

    How long does it take to read Words That Work?

    Reading time for Words That Work depends on the reader, but the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Words That Work a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Words That Work is worth reading as it provides valuable insights into the art of communication and its impact on influencing others.

    Who is the author of Words That Work?

    The author of Words That Work is Frank Luntz.