Words and Communication – What Are We Really Saying?
The other night as I was cooking dinner, the familiar ‘you’ve just received a text’ sound echoed from the phone in my handbag. I ignored it (didn’t want to burn the chicken!) and later discovered that this particular message required some unexpected deciphering. Try as I might, I just didn’t (fully) understand what the person had said.
It wasn’t so much the symbols they had used. It was just that the overall message was not clear enough for me to know how to exactly how to respond. Unlike in a real conversation, where one person might say ‘So what do you think or feel about x, y or z ?’ and the other can respond appropriately, a text message often fails to include true emotion.
Many experts say that in this modern communication age, where we fail to include true emotion in much of what we communicate, we are damaging rather than the building foundations for good relationships. In the multitude of short ‘sound bites’ we send out, which do not include the face to face co-communicators of facial expression, body language or voice tone (as with txt, twitter, email, etc…) meaningful discourse, they say, is lost.
Of course we’re all getting good at fixing that problem with the inclusion of emoticons and other such symbols to convey our feelings. 🙂 Nothing wrong with that. 🙂 🙂
The Psychology of Words And Your Food Choices
Anyhow all this new awareness about words and communication has led me to notice the types of words used by marketers and manufacturers of certain food products. Recently, on one box of ice creams (single serves) I noticed all of the following words – heart, golden, heavenly, indulgent and perfect. All of these words described the moments you would feel or experience if you ate one of the above said ice creams.
At one time in my life, I would have been fully swayed by such words. Many times after a busy day’s work, I was a hapless victim at the corner shop. Back then, I would always buy the snack, ice cream or confectionary item fully believing (at least at a subconscious level) that the food item called ‘Lift’ or ‘Heavenly Moment’ would actually produce the exact same effect in my life. Naive, I know.
These days however, being the food detective that I now am, I instead choose to look at the nutritional labels on items and understand the real facts. I know now that advertisers are playing a game with me.
How many of us would still be drawn to, for example, a plain box of ice-creams (no pictures, no attractive illustrations) with the words – regret, 400 calories, high sugar, high fat, little nutritional value?
No positive emotion conveyed there and quite possibly, no ice creams would be sold 😦
Debunking The Hype
Of course marketers know this and have become extremely adept at capturing our attention and manipulating our choices. Whilst I admire their clever creativity, I know it’s all hype and rather than fall prey to their cause, I prefer, these days, to debunk their marketing hype, even as I read it. It’s kind of a habit now, but a good one and kind of fun.
I know in reality that the sugar marketeers can not improve my day or make me feel good, in any way shape or form.
Only I can do that.
I also know that there is no particular food which is better ‘for my busy lifestyle’ or ‘fun to eat’ or any of the other common food messages I frequently hear and read.
So how do you handle those ubiquitous ads for food? Do you find yourself persuaded by the words advertisers use and thus enticed to buy certain foods? Or, do you ignore them and base your food choices on nutritional information rather than anything else on the box?
Also, what do you think about children being targeted with such advertising? What are our kids really learning about how to choose their foods?
I’d love to know what others think about this issue. What are your thoughts?