EMAIL ENGAGEMENT LICENSED PROGRAMME
- Next trainer development cohort 10th - 14th June 2024

Unconventional words to make people sit up and listen

15th April, 2024

Unconventional words to make people sit up and listen

Nearly 15 years ago I worked as a freelance copywriter.

 

A ‘pen for hire’, I wrote adverts, brochures and website copy for everyone from botox clinics to vodka brands (a far cry from my background in financial services).

 

One of my first commissions was writing menus for a chain of pubs.  I spent hours trying to make their beer-battered haddock and sticky toffee pudding sound irresistible.

 

I submitted my first draft to the client, who called me immediately.  She said:

 

‘Kim, we love what you’ve done, but there’s just one issue.’

 

My heart sank.  Had I gone too hard on the mouth-watering juiciness of their flame-grilled bacon double cheeseburger?

 

‘The thing is, you’ve called a few of the items “fresh”.

 

‘And, er, well we can’t really use that word.  You see, 80% of our food is microwaved from frozen.  It’s not…exactly…fresh.’

 

I thought for a moment.

 

‘Freshly prepared?’ I offered.

 

‘Perfect,’ she said, hanging up.

 

I’ve never looked at a menu the same way again – and now you won’t, either!

 

So be warned: if you ever see an item described as ‘freshly prepared’, it’s likely rotating on a microwave plate near you soon.

 

But the word ‘fresh’ is great to use in your work.

 

It’s a great way to get people’s attention.   We can’t resist fresh ideas, fresh perspectives, fresh thinking. We’re naturally curious.

 

And there are other words, too, that make people sit up and listen.  Words like:

 

  • New
  • Unconventional
  • Alternative
  • Unusual
  • Easy
  • Quick
  • Simple

 

It’s hard to resist the lure of the low-effort, the different, the unexpected, isn’t it?

 

So my challenge for you this week is this: How many of these words can you sprinkle into your next email subject line, presentation title, or meeting request?

 

‘A quick question…’

‘An easy way to reduce budget overspend’

‘An alternative approach to DEI’

 

You’ll think of better ones, I’m sure.   Just make sure they’re fresh, not freshly prepared…

accenture
UBS
Ricoh
Euromoney
University of Cambridge

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