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The one word that will make you more persuasive


Adding one simple word can make you more persuasive.

In a famous 1978 Harvard University study, a researcher would attempt to cut in line to copy some pages at the library.

In some cases they said: “Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine?”  

In others, they asked the same thing except for adding a simple word. 

And this simple word made it 50% more likely they would be allowed to cut the line.

Here’s what they said.


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How concrete language can change behaviour

Want an inexpensive way to bolster customer satisfaction and sell more? Use concrete language.

That was the finding from “How Concrete Language Shapes Customer Satisfaction” (2020) by Grant Packard and Jonah Berger.

In the study, Packard and Berger tested whether referring to items using abstract (e.g. “pants”) vs. concrete (e.g. “blue jeans”) descriptors impacted satisfaction, willingness to buy and purchase behaviour.

Abstract language is the realm of the...

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