Monday, October 20, 2008

Using Plain Language Will Make You Look Smarter (and More Persuasive)


The (New) Legal Writer has just posted a review of Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive.  One of the 50 ways to be persuasive is to use plain language. 

“Take, for example, the fact that communicators frequently try to convey their erudition . . . by using unnecessarily long words or overly technical jargon . . . .  [R]esearch by [Daniel] Oppenheimer has shown that using overly complex language like this can produce the exact opposite of the intended effect: Because the audience has difficulty interpreting the language, the message is deemed less convincing and the author is perceived to be less intelligent.” 

For this propsosition the Yes! authors cite D.M. Oppenheimer, Consequences of erudite vernacular utilized irrespective of necessity: Problems with using long words needlessly, Applied Cognitive Psychology, 20:139–56.  The (New) Legal Writer notes that this give us scientific proof that plain language aids persuasion.

Hat tip to the (New) Legal Writer.


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