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HR leaders spend much of their day communicating with others. Whether written or spoken, or used to persuade, explain, influence, motivate, or instruct, effective communication is the bread and butter for this profession. When using the right words, you can create movement, excitement, and vision. If not, the information you convey will often fall on deaf ears.

The words you use and how you use them can attract or repel your audience and prospects. As Mark Twain once said, “The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter. ’Tis the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.”

When properly used and packaged, language can become a powerful instrument that can be fine-tuned to your advantage. Verbal packaging can make you more adaptable, persuasive, and far easier to understand. This leaves less room for interpretation and miscommunication, which, by itself, will improve trust, morale, and workplace efficiency.

HR Leaders as Talented Advertisers

Word choice in marketing and advertising is critical. All professional marketers know that the words they choose can either attract or distract the reader. This easily applies when writing a blog post, an email, newsletter, or an ad.

Advertisers know how to get their audience to absorb the message at a subconscious level. Highly skilled ones can repackage an identical product just by using different words and phrases and reach a completely different segment of their target audience.

HR leaders should take a page from advertising and learn to use their words to capture people’s curiosity, grab their attention, and trigger the right emotions.

Simple is Almost Always Better

George Orwell probably put it best when he said, “Never use a long word where a short one will do. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.” You don’t have to be a wordsmith to master the art of language packaging. Simplicity will almost always trump complexity here.

Because it’s not always possible to replay or take back our words, we hope that people will interpret them correctly. But we often set ourselves up for disappointment. Always use simple, direct, and concise language when you’re looking to persuade. Stay away from convoluted sentences or fretting about how eloquent you sound. Complex language will not do you any favors here.

Mind Your Tone!

How we choose to say these words is just as important as the words themselves. Voice plays a crucial role in persuasion and influence. You can use your voice to motivate your “troops” or lull them to sleep. There is a big difference between informing and influencing, communicating and convincing, and between presenting and persuading.

Your tone of voice, your rate of speech, your pitch, volume, inflections, and the pauses you use, as well as where you place an emphasis can completely change the meaning of a sentence. This is why it’s preferable to have important discussions verbally, if not face-to-face, rather than over emails or text messaging.

You can use your voice to add an additional layer that helps to capture attention and increase energy levels. Just as with your written word, your voice needs to be easy to listen to and understand, or it may become a distraction.

Do you feel like you’re communicating effectively in your organization, or is there room for improvement? Is your leadership team doing all that it can to streamline communication in the workplace?

Let’s book a few minutes to discuss best practices. I would welcome the opportunity to connect. Book an appointment with me at or call me at +1 (604) 943-0800.

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Inscape Consulting Group
Greg Nichvalodoff, BSc. BM (Honors), MBA, PCC, CMC
Office: 604.943.0800
Mobile: 604.831.4734