Politicians, spokespeople and other masters of communication know the secret words of persuasion. They know how to motivate people to act, and by the end of this article, you’ll join them, empowered with a new method to motivate people to act through your words.
Before we can get to the specific words and phrases, however, we need first to understand exactly what causes someone to act in the first place
How to Motivate People To Act: Fundamentals
If you want to know how to motivate people to act then you need to know what makes people act in the first place.
- People act when it will benefit themselves
- People will act on behalf of others if it improves their own standing or will be reciprocated.
- The vast majority of our actions are based on subconscious patterns, not on conscious decision making. Mostly, our subconscious is programmed to look for: sex, food and safety. People will act if they believe it will lead to these things. These then lead to secondary desires: getting more friends (which will result in more safety and more sex), money (which results in sex, food and safety) and so on.
- People will act in order to follow the norm because there is safety in numbers.
- The key to motivating people to act, then, is to let them know that their action will result in a) being directly benefited themselves, b) helping someone else in the knowledge that it will eventually benefit them, c) getting sex, food or safety (or things that lead to these primordial desires), or d) conforming to the norm.
The way how to motivate people to act is to communicate a, b, c or d from the above
With these four points, we have a basic plan of campaign for understanding how to motivate people to act. However, we don’t just want to know how to motivate people to act whenever, we want to know how to motivate people to act now, and the key to getting people to act now is to produce heightened emotions in them that naturally motivate their actions.
So, we now have:
How to motivate people to act: To motivate people to act now, create in them heightened emotions and the knowledge that their action will benefit them directly or indirectly and will also represent social conformity.
Or, simply: Benefit + Conformity + Heightened Emotions = Action.
Simple, only you can’t just say to someone, “Everyone else does this, so you should too” or “You need this money and I’m telling you how to get it.” Such a heavy-handed approach will put people off. No, you must be subtle. People want to feel as though they’re making decision for themselves. Rather than forcing them to think something you must guide them towards making the conclusion you want them to make. To do this, you need to use words that subconsciously suggest more than they appear to at face value.
“Secret” is one great example of this. A secret is simply something that is not intended to be known by many people. Yet subconsciously it suggests much more than this, it suggests value (because the secret is not known by many, i.e the information is rare), it suggests that the person who is telling you feels emotionally close to you (because they haven’t told many people but they’re telling you) and many more things besides. “Secret” is a subtle word, because it carries a lot of meanings beneath the surface, and it is this sort of subtle word that you should use in conversations or presentations to help create the emotional response in your audience necessary to motivate them to act.
So, what words achieve this?
How to motivate people to act through words
Make your words communicate the following:
Words suggesting personal benefit:
The following words all feel positive to a listener and implies that your suggestion will benefit them
Cure, Boost, Further, Energise, Destiny, Enriching, Bright, Empower, Succeed, Fix, Achieve, Can, Change,
Betrayal and Revenge
Nothing gets people’s blood boiling like being betrayed. Revenge, though negative, is a doubtlessly powerful emotion and motivator. Make use of this emotion with the following words:
Conspiracy, injustice, mistreated, swindle, scam, atrocity,
Frustration and Anger
People feel very motivated to act when they feel an injustice has been made, or when they have worn out of patients. Tap into this with the following words:
Isn’t it time? , Injustice, Unscrupulous, Fed up, Enough is enough, Never again, Tired, On the verge of giving up, Can’t take this any more, It’s time, For too long. . .
Temptation: We love secrets, we love naughtiness, and temptation is always on us. Nothing motivates us like the idea that we can’t have something. These words will create an irresistible temptation that will motivate people to act
Secret, Naughty, Taboo, Controversial,
Powerless: Tell someone that they can’t do something and watch them do it. It’s ironic, but suggestions of powerlessness are incredibly empowering. Motive people to act with these words which suggest powerlessness
Helpless, Give in, Surrender, Impossible
Words to Make People Act Now
To get people to do something right now, make use of the following words
Before it’s too late, before you forget, whilst it’s fresh, whilst the irons hot, now or never, deadline, limited,
Nobody wants to be the odd one out. Our subconscious demands that we fit in because this creates security. Use the following words to imply that a person’s actions will be conformist:
Popular, normal, regular, usual
So, there we are. We now know exactly how to motivate people to act. Using these words you can create the emotional response in your audience necessary to motivate them to act, whilst they remain completely in the dark about it.
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