Body Language May Be 8x As Influential As Words

Word choice can predict whether you’re depressed, suicidal or lying. Swearing makes you more persuasive.

Word choice is important! 

Choosing specific words can predict whether you’re depressed, suicidal or lying. Even swearing causes a reaction.  

Don't want to appear to be lying? Check out this finding: 

"An analysis of 242 transcripts revealed that liars produced more words, more sense-based words (e.g., seeing, touching), and used fewer self-oriented but more other-oriented pronouns when lying than when telling the truth. In addition, motivated liars avoided causal terms when lying, whereas unmotivated liars tended to increase their use of negations."

A deeper summary of the analysis shows: 

  • Small words are better than big ones if you want to sound smart 
  • Using big words can cause others to think you're dumb
  • Words affect decision making
  • Words really predict behavior
  • Speaking positively shows achievement
  • Swear words can make you more persuasive


What words are used in the workplace is also telling. The way employees gossip about a company can predict success or failure.  Be concerned if an organization’s employees start calling it “the company” or, worse, “that company” and referring to their co-workers as “they.” Count the number of times a CEO uses the word “I” in an annual letter to shareholders. It's a red flag for failure. 

So choose your words carefully today. You want to appear happy and smart, right? And remember, there's no "I" in CEO. 

View Comments

Recommended For You

Organic Right Rail Article Thumbnails

People Also Read.