Conversation Agent - Valeria Maltoni - Words That Don't Work

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Good points all around -- saying "we" instead of "you" when discussing how to best approach problems reframes our sense of "us." When we stop preaching to others and start exhorting "us" to do better, we get more buy-in because "we're all in this together."

This especially applies in politics. Both Obama and McCain tried diligently to be inclusive - both were aiming for "we," and it showed in their messaging and polling data. There are idealogues on both the political left and right who refuse to acknowledge the other side and they are correctly painted into their respective corners by the rest of us.

The real test of words, of course, is action. We'll see how our new president delivers on his rhetoric in the coming months and years. In this age of ubiquitous communication, we'll all know his score card within moments, either way.

@Tiffany - I'm glad you said that, it is about scaling small wins, learning by doing, adapting, experiencing. You almost have to hide what you're doing until it's ready for prime time. That will also keep all the other cooks out of your kitchen :) I think Twitter can be more. I've been trying different things and there will be a post in the not too distant future about what I'm learning. Good food for thought, thank you.

@Lauren - it's an appointment with you when I write about language and I like that a lot. How about live it like you mean it. Maybe I'll stick to marketing...

@Phil - we become so immune to jargon that we do ourselves a disservice. Thank you for visiting and for the kind words.

@Carolyn Ann - I still prefer when there are no attacks or verbal abuse. Fair enough? In fact, I think I said it a couple of times (it's a book, too) thank you for arguing. The speech was balanced and at times even somber in my view. I watched it on TV at the company's bistro. The conceptual analysis will come as the Government begins to execute. Everyone is probably in shock for the difference, at the moment.

Just a quick point: I *strongly* disagree with Frank Luntz. Democracy does not work best when we "use language to unite and explain rather than divide and attack."

People on the right want to silence those on the left; the evangelically religious want to unite everyone behind a few ideas that are more "groupthink" than democratic, and the left would rather the right simply realized the hopelessness of their positions. Democracy is best when people disagree; it's strength is that it allows people to disagree; sometimes, strongly. I like it when strong disagreement happens; it's fun, and it proves democracy is alive and well.

Democracy works best when everyone can have a say. I should point out that there is, of course, no requirement that anyone listen to "you". It would be a poor democracy that united everyone in a common view; diversity of opinion is the fundamental basis of democracy; without that, you have something a mockery, a facade, of the democratic process.

As far as the speech is concerned, I think it was quite good. A call to arms, and a laying of responsibility. There's quite a lot of lexical analysis out there of it; there seems to be less conceptual analysis, however. :-)

Carolyn Ann

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