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Harnessing the power of words

Screen shot of Youtube video The Power of WOrdsA friend recently sent me a link to a YouTube video called ‘The Power of Words’. The video is actually a homage to Historia de un letrero (The Story of a Sign) by Alonso Alvarez Barreda which won a prize at the 2008 Cannes Festival.

This short film offers a wonderful insight into the power of language to actually change the way we think about our world. It also demonstrates how a simple idea can be communicated much more effectively by choosing a different combination of words.

Watching this film started me thinking about how, as writers and editors, we can approach a document or other piece of communication and bring greater value by stepping back and thinking about the desired outcome, and how that might best be achieved.

Sometimes it isn’t simply a matter of rearranging the words, but rather choosing different words altogether.

Taking this a step further, it’s not only the words that form the message, but also the medium used to deliver them. For example, can a procedure manual be more effectively broken down into a series of work instructions, each targeted to the different people performing each task? Would a short video presentation be more memorable and accessible than a 25-page PDF document?

A little creative thinking at the beginning might just make all the difference.

Image is a screenshot from ‘The Power Of Words’