Book Review: Words that Word by Frank Luntz

It's Not What You Say, It's What People Hear

A couple of pages into this book, I said to myself, “Oh, this is the guy.. Frank Luntz, who, for want of a better term, is the speech engineer of the Republican party, and is responsible for a number of terms that we are all now familiar with, such as “the death tax” (formerly known as “the estate tax” ), and “exploring for energy” (aka oil drilling).

Between the covers of this book are an overview of how to speak so that your audience will hear what you want them to say.
Drilled through the book is the subtitle, which should be placed on top of every desk in America.

It’s Not What You Read, it’s What People Hear.Dr. Luntz gives a detailed overview of 10 rules to effective speech, including:

  • Simplicity
  • Brevity
  • Credibility
  • Consistency
  • Novelty
  • Sound and Texture Matter
  • Speak Aspirationally
  • Visualize
  • Ask a Question
  • Provide Context and Explain Relevance

This book is for anyone who wants to communicate effectively. I felt that I got my money’s worth out of the first 20 pages, and that in total, reading this book provided me with more value than most of my courses in B-School.

If a business communications class was able to have a baby with a marketing class and a political science class, this it what it would look like.

I couldn’t put the book down, and my copy is filled with underlines and crease marks.

You do not to agree with Luntz politically to understand his methods, and pick up a few good pointers to make your own speech more effective.

Even if you totally abhor spin-masters like Luntz, it’s probably a good idea to learn his tactics. You can get the book from a library or a used book store, you won’t be directly filling his pockets. )

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