Influencing Actions: The Difference a Good Name Makes

It’s often the difference between success and failure, or ‘yes please’ and ‘no thanks’ – naming a product, naming a project, naming a team, naming whatever. Giving something a name which is compelling, inviting, something that people either want, want to aim for or find interesting.

Advertisers and marketing specialists are constantly looking for, and listening for, words that compel, persuade, attract and interest us. You only have to think about how ads draw us in, give us the ‘why’ and the ‘what’s in it for us’ as they persuade us to buy:

  • Coca Cola – the real thing;
  • Adidas – right here, right now;
  • Levis – Freedom to move

Multi-billion pound industries thrive on finding exactly the words to motivate us into action.

Think about it. Which projects in your business would you rather be a part of:

  • ‘Maximising Our Income’ or ‘Cutting Spending and Costs’
  • ‘OnLine to Win’ or ‘ 2011 – Less Downtime’
  • ‘Getting It Right’ or ‘Avoiding Mistakes’

I’m pretty sure you, like me, would want to be part of the first ones – the first ones are all “towards” driven. They give us the suggestion, the hint of what the outcome is, what we’re going or aiming for. The second ones in each case are all “away froms”, things to avoid or things to fear. Whilst “away froms” are great influencers – we all want to avoid pain in whatever form it takes – to get people to attend an event or a meeting that only speaks to their pain is far less attractive. Talk about the outcome, name it something interesting or compelling.

It reminds me of when I heard the name a client’s company had given to a special dnew project, designed to bring teams together at lunchtime with in-house experts sharing their knowledge over a sandwich. They called it HELL. Loads of time and energy had gone into creating a special Educational Lunchtime Learning project and the company’s name began with H so apparently the boss said ‘let’s have a bit of a laugh’ and they called it Project HELL. “Who’s going to HELL at lunchtime?” or “I can’t make it today, I’m going to HELL”.

The point here is that after the initial giggle or smirk that it brought, no one wanted to go to such a meeting. Attracting people to become involved or be a contributor to a HELL lunch was a struggle from the word go. The project ultimately flopped within a few weeks and was scrapped. It could just as easily been called “Listen, Lunch and Learn” or “Meet and Eat” – both more enticing, hooky and interesting whilst everyone knows that the essence is still the same, the actual names of things are so critical to their success. They have to attract us.

Just as we need to carefully consider how influential and attractive the language is we use to write emails, send out proposals, leave voicemails and all the myriad of ways we’re communicating everyday – we also must have our radar tuned to the actual name we give to things – it makes the difference between HELL – and Heaven.

My husband was encouraging his 4-year old godson to ‘come and see this old, dead tree’ and I knew an ‘old, dead tree’ was far less enticing than ‘an amazing magical tree’. Which one do you think he went for? Hey presto.

How do I learn more about Kay?

To have the opportunity to discuss any blind spots you know you have or things that are slowing you down or holding you back as you connect, persuade and compel people at work; click here to apply for a complimentary conversation with Kay.

Article reproduced with permission of Kay White, Communication Specialist and Mentor at Kay shows professionals how to be understood. Get quicker, faster and better results by becoming a more effective, influential and savvy communicator – everywhere in your life.

In addition, you can listen to an exclusive interview with Kay where she shares several exclusive tips on how to immediately make your communication more powerful and persuasive:

About the Author

Hi, I'm Tom Burkinshaw, I co-produce the Maximise Your Potential Podcast and Website and my goal is to help as many people as possible be successful in life, careers and business, by offering free coaching and mentoring through a series of unique interviews from inspiring people who all display exceptional self-belief, mental toughness and desire to achieve. Thank you for taking the time to visit Maximise Your Potential!