I just spent the five days at my semi-annual TLC (Transformational Leadership Council) event in Mexico. I come away from each of these conferences with nuggets of great information.
At this conference, one of the presentations that gave me a lot of great nuggets was from my friend, Alex Mandossian. His talk was called “Discover Your Verb.” OK, I thought it sounded a bit weird but his content is always so great, so I didn’t care – I had to be there. I’m glad I was. It was in fact, amazing.
In his talk he said, the “biggest lesson I’ve learned over the years is the one thing that makes a great business person and leader is: movement!”
Albert Einstein once said that “nothing happens until something moves.” This is true in business and in leadership because without movement, change is not possible.
Alex told the story of a legendary ad man, Leo Burnett from Chicago. He said that “Burnett once put his staff to the task of analyzing 62 ads that failed to move merchandise. Why did they fail? Burnett said it was due to too many adjectives because adjectives (like “extremely”) don’t move people, instead they spark skepticism and doubt in our minds. In fact, of the 12,758 words of those failed ads, 24.1% were adjectives! Translation: more adjectives means less movement.”
Alex said that in comparison, Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address contains only 13.1% adjective-to-total-word ratio and Churchill’s “Blood, Sweat and Tears” speech has 12.3%.
If adjectives are the problem, then what is the solution? Alex said that it’s not nouns – it’s about verbs or action words.
Verbs increase persuasion power and move people according to Alex. The greatest thought leaders in history lived their lives as verbs.