The Power of Language - Why 1 word really matters.

We often overlook the power of language. We don’t always appreciate the emotional impact a word can have on the dynamics of a relationship – the way the same word can bring 2 people together, or pull them apart. A single word can evoke feelings of excitement, amazement and anticipation in one and fear, denial and regret in another. The selection of that single word can forever change the path and journey you are taking. We forget that as hard as we try, once said, those words cannot be taken back. The impact is out there – the fall out (good or bad) is ours and ours alone to deal with.

There can be nothing more powerful than a single word.
Yet as we go about our daily lives we forget about that awesome power. The way that what we say shapes others perceptions, feelings, mood. It why you choose to by one product over another. Its why a picture of LaCoste can make two people laugh for no reason. Its why we pay $5 for a coffee when we could have one just as good for $2. Its about managing the emotional response through carefully crafted lingustics. Instead, we often pretend like this impact doesn’t exist.

In human resources – no where is the power of language more evident than in your job postings. The way you word a job ad – will make a dream candidate fight for what they want (your job) or by pass it totally. It will give the impression to others of the cultue, mindset and vision for your organization. It will make them know its better than what they have or make them apprehensive and scared to take that next step. It is the language that defines your company for a number of job seekers beyond any branding or website that may exist. It is their reality.

When you are going through your jobs this week – take a few minutes to look at the posts from a job seekers perspective. What words are you using to build or destroy a relationship? What language have you selected that is the emotional catalyst to draw the right people in? Take control of the reality and manage what you say carefully – make sure it is what you mean and you aren’t having to be playing catch up after the fact and explaining yourself later.

Originally posted on

Views: 129

Comment by Gary Franklin on March 23, 2010 at 3:00am
This is so true. the words, the tone, the detail and the preception a job posting creates can be the difference between a great hire and missing out altogether
Comment by Robin Stanton on March 24, 2010 at 1:03pm
Excellent post, Sarah. So much of what is poured into marketing a firm to attract candidates and represent the culture can be undone with a mundane job posting. Thanks for the challenge.


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