The words issue | Brunswick Group

Welcome to the Words edition of the Brunswick Review, in which we illustrate the power of words to promote economic and social progress.

In these pages we trace Singapore’s status as an economic star to its decision in 1965 to make its official language English – even though few residents back then spoke it. We show how one man started a linguistic revolution by inventing the hashtag. We offer tips from former US Senator Christopher Dodd on how to prepare and deliver a great speech. Cambridge’s best-selling classicist Mary Beard talks to us about lingering restraints on the voices of professional women. Economist Dambisa Moyo explains why words – her fourth book is currently on best-seller lists – offer the best hope for starting a revival of Western economic prowess. And our researchers at Brunswick Insight reveal what people really hear when a company says, “No comment.”

We also show how even great writers like Winston Churchill or Ernest Hemingway found it hard to choose the right words. Churchill, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, put one hour of work into every minute of a speech. Hemingway rewrote the last page of “A Farewell to Arms” 47 times. The secret behind virtually every great writer and speaker is a team of brilliant editors.

For anyone preparing a spoken or written communication, a basic recommendation is to identify the target audience. But Mark Palmer, Brunswick’s US Managing Partner, adds a chilling coda. It comes from his experience as the former spokesman for Enron: Never forget that your audience may include the Department of Justice.

Best to lead by this credo: Words matter, always.

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