I stumbled upon this video today. It was very inspiring. My fellow writers will appreciate it.
The right words can indeed be powerful. Notice the difference between the two versions of the sign: “I’m blind please help” and “It’s a beautiful day and I can’t see it”.
The first phrase has a statement “I’m blind” followed by a command “please help”. Now while that phrase does attract some sympathy, it doesn’t strike the emotional chords of many people. The people who read the sign obviously can’t relate to being blind. They know what it means to be blind, but not how it feels.
The second phrase, on the other hand, gets a lot of response. This phrase can also be broken down into two parts, but this time both parts are statements. “It’s a beautiful day” is a statement that both he and his audience / potential “customers” can agree upon. (Luckily it didn’t start raining.) This gets his audience thinking about how it is in fact a beautiful day. Some may have been too busy with their daily hustle to even notice how beautiful is it until they read the sign. It’s the second statement “I can’t see it” that has the powerful effect. After getting his audience to think about how beautiful the day is, he informs them that he can’t see it. Two simple statements that has power when put together. He doesn’t ask for anything. He doesn’t use the word “blind”. He doesn’t label himself as something different from his audience. After the audience appreciates the beautiful day, they then try to imagine what it would be like if they couldn’t see the beautiful day either. They may never know how it feels to be blind, but by closing their eyes for just a few seconds, they can get a sense of how it feels to be unable to see the beautiful day.
Not only does this invoke sympathy in his audience, it also changes the nature of the donations that people are giving him. They no longer give him money just because he is less fortunate. They now get something in exchange for their donations. They receive a greater appreciation not only for how beautiful the day is, but also for how fortunate they are.
Choosing your words to invoke emotions can be very powerful. Not just in marketing, but also in storytelling, poetry, lyrics, and anything else that you would want your audience members emotionally invested in.