CHAPTER 4

Shift Your Language or Get Left Behind

Shane Johnson © 2011.

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Don’t worry—I skimmed all the good parts.

Principles

1. Language exists, everywhere, all the time, in various forms. It has influence over everything and is influenced by everything.

2. Every organization can and should be in the business of helping guide how people think, what they understand, and the ways in which they communicate.

3. Individuals and groups that do a better job explaining their issues in a context that relates to people’s lives, and melds with their understanding of how the world functions, are viewed more favorably and are more successful.

4. Organizations today are trained to be transaction oriented and to work on efficiencies, and this becomes their approach to customer service as well. The metrics that people find most compelling are reward size, speed, and efficiency. But what people expect and what they respond to falls more into the category of culture, understanding, and support.

On January 8, 2011, a gunman opened fire on a crowd of people in Tucson, Arizona, killing six and wounding a dozen others, including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ). This tragic and senseless attack reminds us of our broad commonalities as Americans. It also focuses much needed attention on the harsh rhetoric that increasingly defines the media’s notions of “political conversation” today. In ...

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