Monday, April 30, 2007

Frank Luntz on "Words That Work"

Love or hate the guy who coined "Contract with America" and a bunch of other memorable phrases that defined GOP success in the 1990s, Frank Luntz is worth reading for a brief education on efficient use of language. Focus on results, not process, Luntz says; don't dwell on 'putting more cops on the street'—talk about 'public safety' instead. It worked for Luntz when he worked for Rudolph Giuliani.

Words That Work: It's Not What You Say, It's What People Hear is not as colorful as Buck Up, Suck Up and Come Back When You Foul Up, but I'd recommend it for a look at GOP and corporate opinion-making.

PD applications? If you're of the "the policy's fine, we're just not telling it right" school, this book is for you. Luntz would argue, though, that efficient wording can arise only where a policy that people actually agree with is in play—and Luntz's descriptions of the mechanics of figuring out whether that's the case is another good reason to read the book.

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