Words That Work Outline

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Words That Work Outline

This book by Dr. Frank Luntz is about how slight changes in vocabulary can, and do, have an effect on what the audience takes from a speech or written address. The author uses three main points to bring his message to the reader. First, the main theme of this book is defined by the phrase, “It’s not what you say, it’s what people hear.” The author also introduces his set of “Ten Rules for Effective Communication” which serves as a set of guidelines to align the “what you say” and the “what people hear” aspects of the main theme. Thirdly, the author talks about advertisements that “stick” with consumers and why they are so memorable. Finally, to bolster these statements, the author gives numerous examples from his real world experiences. The first of the three main points is the “It’s not what you say, it’s what people hear” mantra. This statement is repeated numerous times to reinforce the central theme of the book. He uses examples such as Jimmy Carter’s “infamous ‘malaise’ speech.” The author points out that although the former president never uttered the word “malaise,” people recognize the speech in question as such. President Carter was actually talking about America’s “crisis of confidence” not expressing his “malaise” about the crisis. Another example is when former secretary of state Colon Powell spoke of the need for “decisive force” to win every war that America engages. However, the American people translated this in to “overwhelming force” which is nearly the opposite of what Colon Powell meant. He meant for a surgical and precise type of force. While this can be overwhelming to an enemy, the latter has a connotation of vast numbers of soldiers and a violent onslaught to which the enemy eventually succumbs. To summarize, the author backs up his mantra with multiple real world examples. The author’s “Ten Rules for Effective Communication” are found in the first chapter and help to outline the entire book. They are as...
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