JS Tip 286: The Power of Words

Tips from Jefferson Smith Training and Consulting

** From the Writing Workshops: The Power of Words

This is not a discussion of business writing.

It’s a discussion of the power of words.

Beware. Some of the words in this tip are powerful. They may affect you. They may move you.

Author Arthur C. Clarke (2001: A Space Odyssey) tells of how Ernest Hemingway was eating lunch with friends. Hemingway bet his friends ten dollars each that he could draft a short story in six words. His friends scoffed and accepted the bet.

Hemingway took a napkin and wrote— For sale: Baby shoes, never worn.

Oh, wow.

A young couple.

The loss of a child.

So destitute, they’re forced to sell their baby’s shoes. Perhaps the only memory they have of their baby.

Visceral reaction. Gut reaction.

All in six words. That’s the power of language. It affects us. It moves us.

Oh. Hemingway won the bet.

Let us know your thoughts. We love this stuff.

Next week, in honor of the season, we’ll begin a series of “Spooky Words.” Words that will haunt you if you use them incorrectly.

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