One of my favourite memes of the last few years has been this one:
It’s not just because I’m a Star Trek fan (okay, it’s mostly because I’m a Star Trek fan). I’ve just always found learning other languages different from mine to be incredibly difficult challenges. I’m only fluent in one other language than English (French) but that was after years of immersion training when I was a kid and a few refresher courses as an adult. I can get around in Spanish, and I’ve fiddled around with Italian, Japanese, German, Hindi, and Mandarin on language apps, but retained precisely nothing in my head.
Don’t even get me started with Klingon. Way too many apostrophes.
Speaking for myself, whatever language I learn would need to have some practical use for me, given the time investment required to learn it well.
Still, there are other kinds of ways to look at “language”, even within this klepto-linguistic mutt we call “English”.
When we say that a certain book, song, or story really “speaks to us”, we mean, of course, that we find a deeply emotional connection with that book, song, or story. It’s one of those things where it’s more than just the sum of its parts or the technical constructions. Grammarly won’t necessarily help you touch, move, and inspire someone. In fact, being too technically-correct strips away your distinct writing voice and with it any capacity you have to touch, move, and inspire.
So, how do you inspire with writing?
It depends on who you’re trying to inspire.
What are their dreams and ambitions? What are their fears? What do they care about? What are their histories? What are their desired futures?
Shift some of your focus away from the correctness and accuracy of your writing and towards getting to know your audience’s own emotional language. Then, speak to them in it.
Speak to them in a way that they’ll not only understand, but that will also make their hearts beat faster, draw chuckles at their screens, cause tears to drop down their cheeks, or cause them to take a big long sigh.
Too airy-fairy a tip for your liking? Prefer a more Vulcan-like approach? Then, my logical friend, here’s another way to see it. Humans tend to act more from emotion than logic. Stimulate the emotions of your desired customers in your sales copy even as you explain how to solve their problems, and afterwards, when you ask them to buy from you, they are more likely to say yes. They will feel that good. And you will feel good when they give you money.
This is what I can do, and what I am always learning to do: speak the emotional languages of my audiences and my audience’s audiences.
I said before that I need a useful reason to learn a new language. The truth is, if my audiences, my ideal clients, spoke Klingon, I would be learning Klingon. Right now, as a matter of fact.
To your success.
Or, put another way, Qa’Pla’!
- Jody (February 23, 2020)