The Science of Words and Unleashing Its Power in Business Communications

Gerri Knilans
4 min readApr 22, 2024


Writing is an essential aspect of business communications, and high-quality content can significantly impact a company’s success. While many business professionals appreciate the power of the written word, they do not understand the science behind it. The ability to engage and persuade an audience through writing is not simply a matter of talent or creativity. By applying scientific research and understanding of writing to their communications, businesses can create content that captivates target audiences and drives meaningful results.

How the Written Word Impacts Business Success

Words are the building blocks of communication. Organizations that understand how to maximize the power of words foster better business relationships. In a highly competitive environment, the value of the written word and its practical applications for content marketing and thought leadership are growing. Here are five essential findings that showcase the importance of investing in high-quality writing for long-term success.

1. Everyone writes, but not everyone is a writer.

Studies show that 73 percent of employers want candidates with strong written communication skills. Especially in an increasingly remote and hybrid work environment, employees constantly rely on the written word. From emails to presentations to reports, everyone communicates with writing. Yet, not everyone is a skilled writer. Quality writing skills improve productivity, increase collaboration, and enhance customer relationships. Employees spend an average of 25 hours reading for work a week, but 81 percent say poorly written materials waste their time. As such, ineffective internal and external communications can hinder business growth. Offer professional training and implement easy-to-use tools such as Grammarly or Microsoft Editor to help employees upskill writing abilities.

2. The words we use impact our brain.

Words Can Change Your Brain, by neuroscientist Dr. Andrew Newberg and communications expert Mark Robert Waldman, explores how the words we use change the way we think, feel, and act. The authors’ extensive research found that “a single word has the power to influence the expression of genes that regulate physical and emotional stress.” According to Newberg and Waldman, the brain releases dozens of stress-producing hormones within a second of hearing words with a negative connotation. On the other hand, the body produces oxytocin, the hormone responsible for building trust and bonding, upon hearing a compliment.

The author’s findings underscore the importance of “compassionate communication” to effectively get your point across and better understand others. For example, three positive messages are necessary to overcome one negative communication. By consistently speaking in a positive manner, it’s possible to stimulate and even “rewire” the brain’s frontal lobe. This allows us to not only change our self-perception but also trains our brain to see the good in others.

3. Accessible and engaging language benefits all stakeholders.

When it comes to sharing expert insights and thought leadership with your networks, it can be easy to think that simply communicating the facts is enough. Yet, in a sea of countless digital resources, target audiences seek content that balances being informative, interesting, and easy to read. Researchers tested the effect of writing style in scientific, peer-reviewed articles on the audience’s experience of readability, confidence, and understanding. They found that a traditional scientific writing style resulted in a readability score of 44 percent, while an accessible, engaging style improved readability to 66 percent.

4. Words help us feel connected to each other.

In a global and digital marketplace, it can be easy to lose sight of the personal element in business communications. The language we use can help improve a sense of connection to clients, employees, prospects, and other stakeholders. In fact, research from Princeton University shows that when a storyteller begins telling their story, listeners’ brains begin to glow in a specific pattern that perfectly mirrors that of the storyteller. Whether leveraging storytelling techniques, prioritizing positive language, personalizing content, or committing to frequent communications, language helps us meaningfully and empathically connect.

5. Written words reinforce goal setting.

Research has found that individuals are 42 percent more likely to achieve a goal if they write it down. Writing down goals offers the chance to clearly define what success looks like. Record individual and organizational goals to support strategy building, define team members’ roles, and reinforce accountability. Be specific and commit to regular review and revision as business goals and market needs evolve.

Words Will Always Matter

The idea that “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” is a myth when contrasted with the science of the written word. The written word makes a difference at the individual level as much as the organizational level. For these reasons, it’s important for companies to take steps to maximize the quality of their content, both internally and externally. When they develop readily understandable, engaging, and frequent experiences , businesses support positive relationships and sustained business growth.

Originally published at on April 22, 2024.



Gerri Knilans

Marketing communications strategist. The right message. The right medium. Guaranteed.