As a persuasive writer, you might measure the readability of your writing by checking your FK (Flesch-Kincaid) score. Maybe you’re concerned with SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and where your client’s web page fallson the SERP (search engine results page). And of course, when your clients hire you, they’re looking to maximize their ROI (Return on Investment).
Acronyms are part of your everyday life. But here’s one you may not be familiar with: NLP.
NLP is short for “neuro linguistic programming.” It is the theory that your mind (neuro) and your choice of language (linguistic) affect your behavior (programming).
A big part of NLP is that using the “right” words — often, words that you don’t even necessarily notice — can appeal to your subconscious and help trigger the desired response.
NLP is used in a variety of contexts, including advertising and marketing. Whether it’s effective is controversial. Some say NLP doesn’t work and it doesn’t persuade anyone to do anything. Others say it works too well. It’s manipulative and therefore unethical.
Of course, if you’re trying to persuade your readers about something you truly believe in and expect will help them, then that’s not unethical.
But here’s the thing…
Regardless of whether you believe in it, agree with it, or use it in your own writing, you’re being exposed to NLP regularly.
So no matter how you feel about NLP, it’s good to know some of the techniques behind it. At the very least, it’s a good learning opportunity. You can evaluate other writing to see if you think these principles are being used effectively.
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