How One Small Word Can Transform Our Motivation, Success And Relationships | Jonah Berger

Words matter. Unbelievably, tiny changes to language can have a big effect on behavior. Hear bestselling author, Jonah Berger reveal the magic words that can completely transform how we behave, in this riveting episode.

Almost everything we do involves words. But have you ever stopped to consider how much influence the words you choose can have on the person reading your email, or listening to your presentation? Some words are more impactful than others. In fact, we can captivate, motivate and convince people with our words. But which words are the most powerful?

Listen in to find out:

  • How words can shape our identity.
  • Tips on using language to positively affect our relationships.
  • How simply changing the words in an email can dramatically alter behavior.

Jonah Berger’s last book, “Magic Words: What To Say To Get Your Way” is a succinct summary of the latest scientific research on words and language. Jonah joins us on Behavioral Grooves, not only to tell us about what to expect in the book, but also to recount the story of how the idea for the book was sparked by a delayed flight.

Jonah is a former guest of Behavioral Grooves Podcast, having previously been on the show to discuss his bestselling book The Catalyst: How to Change Anyone’s Mind. He is a professor at The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and is known as a world-renowned expert on natural language processing, word of mouth, influence, consumer behavior, and why things catch on.

Word of mouth is the number one way that new listeners find out about Behavioral Grooves podcast. If you feel wiser having listened to this episode, please share it on social media or email it to your friends and encourage them to become a listener too. Thank you!


(3:27) Welcome and speed round questions.

(5:09) Why asking for advice makes us actually seem smarter.

(7:17) Using abstract vs. concrete language.

(12:42) How Jonah researched the use of language.

(16:49) How can our language affect our relationships.

(19:31) Turning actions into identities.

(22:47) Priming behavior with language.

(25:00) Do the lyrics of songs help explain their success?

(28:27) Grooving Session with Tim and Kurt on why words matter.


© 2023 Behavioral Grooves


Other Episodes You Will Enjoy

Episode 201, The Counterintuitive Persuasion of The Catalyst with Jonah Berger

Episode 147, Gary Latham, PhD: Goal Setting, Prompts, Priming, and Skepticism

Episode 319, John Bargh: Want to Know How Priming Works? It Starts With Your Conscious, Not Your Unconscious

AIRDATE: April 3, 2023 EPISODE 350

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How One Small Word Can Transform Our Motivation, Success And Relationships | Jonah Berger