Today’s media environment is a challenging one. Between blogs, social media, 24-hour cable news and endless propaganda campaigns from political organizations, making your message stand out is difficult. In his fascinating new book, Language Intelligence, Joe Romm from Climate Progress lays out the keys to persuasive writing, and speaking.
“In the hands of its greatest practitioners, rhetoric has changed the world. As John F. Kennedy said of Churchill, “He mobilized the English language and sent it into battle” to see England through to victory in World War II. In a famous 1858 speech, Lincoln paraphrased Jesus, saying “A house divided against itself cannot stand,” and he extended the house metaphor throughout the speech. His law partner, William Herndon, later wrote that Lincoln had told him he wanted to use “some universally known figure [of speech] expressed in simple language … that may strike home to the minds of men in order to raise them up to the peril of the times.”
“Rhetoric is the art of being pithy and profound. In this world of information overload, you have to capture people’s attention. In this media menagerie, you have to stand out like a peacock. So this book will help you “wow” people with words – grab them with the most eye-popping headlines, the catchiest catch-phrases, and the sweetest tweets.”
“Once people are paying attention, the goal is to win them over through what I call “language intelligence.” It is the ability to convince people of something by moving them both intellectually and emotionally, at both a conscious and unconscious level.”