I spent some time in George Best International airport in Belfast recently coming back from a fundraising workshop with the charity Concern Worldwide UK

When I entered the airport departure lounge I saw the usual television screens with departure and arrival information but I also saw something I had never seen before…

Normally, when your flight has not been called, the screens show the message “Please wait in lounge”  but in Belfast airport thy had a different message!   Somebody had clearly thought about the impact of words and had harnessed their knowledge to see if they could increase the amount of money people spend whilst waiting for their flight.

Can you guess what they did?

They changed the message from “Please wait in the lounge” to “Relax and shop”

To me this is a classic example of how changing the words people read can have a major impact on their behaviour.   If you want your audience to do something, then tell them what it is you want them to do!

How could you use this simple lesson to become more persuasive and influential

I’d love to hear your examples or comments!

1 Comment

  1. Dr. Jim Anderson on 04/11/2008 at 02:03

    Gavin: point well made. Once upon a time I saw an emergency exit door that instead of having the traditional “Don’t open or alarm will sound” message instead had a more empowering “Please use the front door to exit – this door is only to be used in emergencies”. Not really all that much different; however, it clearly communicated the relaxed tone of the customer that occupied the building.

    – Dr. Jim Anderson
    The Accidental Communicator Blog
    “Learn How To Calm Your Fears, Wow Your Audience, And Get Your Point Across”

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