The Power of Words


The other day someone was talking about an upcoming cake event. A person posted that the classes sure were expensive. I went to see if they were higher than normal and found that they were actually on the lower end of class prices these days. What if I had not been curious enough to look? That one person’s comment could have caused me not to take an affordable class.

This is part of why word of mouth is so crucial for a business. If you hear from a friend that a place has good food, you are more likely to eat there. If you hear that someone is a jerk, you will usually avoid getting to know that person. We take advice given to us by people we trust.

Recently a tv show conducted an experiment on words. They took a group in and told them they received a half portion of pasta. That group ate everything on their plate and wanted more. The second group was told they got a full serving of pasta. They ate everything on their plate. The third group was told they received a double portion of pasta. They all left pasta on their plate. All three groups received the same amount of pasta. What did this show? Besides a lot about how we eat, it showed the power of words.

I always would hear people say that they didn’t like the taste of fondant. I would tell them it was because they hadn’t had my fondant yet. I would give them a piece and tell them that I loved it because it wasn’t as sweet and because it reminded me of Lucky Charm marshmallows. 99 percent of the time, they would flash back to happy childhood memories of eating cereal, the joy of catching a marshmallow in your spoon, and would declare that I was right and my fondant was great. I used words to plant an emotional response. I never felt like I was cheating because I DO think fondant is less sweet and because I DO think it tastes like Lucky Charm marshmallows.

I found that how I described something often determined whether a customer would buy it. I was so grateful to have an excellent vocabulary and a flair for descriptions. Even if you don’t feel particularly strong in this area, you probably know someone who is. Ask them to describe your chocolate cake or lemon bars. How you word things on brochures and websites truly makes a difference. Look at the menu at a restaurant and see what I mean. Dessert menus are especially descriptive.

I found that if I told a bride that clean, elegant lines were in, that is the style they chose. If I said that the trend was alternating shapes, they had to have that. You have the ability to shape the orders you take. I just caution you to use your words for good, not evil. And please, remember that an off the cuff remark could cause more harm than you expect. Savor your words and choose them wisely.

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6 thoughts on “The Power of Words

  1. If people would just think for themselves and form their own opinion instead of allowing themselves to be led around, this wouldn’t be an issue.

  2. So true! I once heard a decorator describe her fondant as tasting like white chocolate. Keep in mind that no white chocolate ever came close to the fondant, but the customer exclaimed, “Oh, yes! I love that white chocolate flavor!”

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