By: John Brandon
Tired, boring, and dull.
Those are the terms that typically describe most email, business documentation, investor summaries, and corporate prose. You almost want to find a paddle and hit yourself across the face to wake up a little or inject coffee directly into your synapses.
The words below have the same effect: They squirt a little fun juice into boring old email and those TPS reports you have to write ad nauseam. If you are looking to spruce up a customer pitch or get the attention of, say, a jaded journalist like myself, use these words and we might pay attention a little more. Remember there is a living, breathing, thinking person on the other end of that e-mail! Spice things up and see the results.
Go ahead and tell people you’ll take care of something immediately. It’s one word but it carries some serious power: you are confident about taking action, it will be done quickly and efficiently, and you are communicating a timeline without any hesitation.
This power word means to display something passionately, so it implies action and immediacy. If you are fervently pursuing a customer support issue or you are fervent about your marketing plan, it means you are excited, passionate, motivated, and persistent.
Use the word sharp when you want to focus someone’s attention; it has an unusual power. You can say you’ve seen a sharp rise in Web traffic on your site or a sharp decrease in customer support calls and people will understand exactly what you mean.
This is a power word with two meanings. When used to describe a product or service, it means something was new at one time (that’s a plus, right?) and is new again. You might say you have a renewed investor commitment to the brand, which implies a once and future glory.
Avoid saying you have a shiny new gadget you are selling (that expression is overused and worn-out), but go ahead and say you have a shining example. It creates a word picture for people, an aura of importance. Something is shining — so pay attention.
If you’ve used the word immediately too much in your e-mail and in your documentation to let everyone know you mean business, try the word instantly instead. It also implies action and power; that you will take care of something and not let it slide. It will happen now.
Do you have a newly invigorated plan to reach customers? That’s good, because the word means to pass on energy or to enliven something. Suddenly, the word “plan” seems more important. It’s as though the word invigorated itself has spruced up your sentence.
The employee on your team who is responsive is probably getting paid a little more than everyone else. He or she is ready to tackle a tough subject and solve a problem. That’s why EMTs say someone is “responsive” — they’re completely coherent and aware.
Here’s one of the best power words you can use. Send an e-mail to someone today and use the word relevant — it packs a hefty punch. The word means closely connected and appropriate — in other words, it’s helping the company instead of hindering it.
One last power word for you. Try using it in a business document. The word known has an interesting effect on your prose. It means someone is doing the knowing about a topic, there’s interest and importance, and something is worth considering. It’s known.