1. An Experiment of Banning Profanity
As some of you know – my Dad is into trading of diamonds. A diamond traders office is kind of like a stock brokers office. You get to hear a lot of profanity because of the stress that the deals bring with them.
So a couple of months back, my Dad made a rule in the office: anyone* who utters a profane word has to pay up Rs.100. The Rs.100 goes to charity.
*Anyone except my Dad. My Dad has to pay up Rs.500.
When you have to pay attention to a few of your words, you tend to pay attention to all of your words!
Brokers who come to the office now “think and talk”. Fewer arguments. More attentive folks. Better deals. Happy ending.
2. An Experiment of Using Profanity
Psychologists Cory Scherer and Brad Sagarin run an experiment. They gather a group of people and divide them into 2 groups. And make both the groups watch a 5 minute video of a persuasive speech.
For group A, the speaker uses a tame swear phrase “Damn it!” once during the speech. For group B, the speech is exactly the same, except the swear phrase is omitted.
Once the speech is over, participants are asked about their attitudes toward the topic addressed in the speech. The result? Folks in Group A rate the speaker as being more passionate than folks in Group B do. Folks in Group A also rate the video to be more persuasive overall than folks in Group B do!
Occassional obscenity persuades people!
3. So Should We Use Profanity Or Not?
- I’ve been a big fan of the late Gary Halbert ever since I read his website. I recall the impact the dual instance of [email protected]#%ing profanity he used had on me. Made me perceive him as being a no-bs guy (which if you listen to a few guys in the know – wasn’t exactly true).
- I also recall being in Buda, Texas – listening to Roy H. Williams speak. And he utters a single [email protected]#%ing obscene word to amplify a point. Makes the whole room nod and smile. And makes me realize that he is the best god darn speaker I’ve ever head.
- And one of the few bloggers I follow – Naomi Dunford of IttyBiz – uses profanity like a drunk sailor – or like a smart strategist to distinguish herself from the drones in the over-crowded make-money niche.
- On the other hand, the no-profanity rule in my Dad’s office also shows me how not using profanity helps create a better stress-free atmosphere.
So my verdict is…
- Use profanity when people least expect it. Don’t use profanity if everyone uses it.
- Yes: do what others don’t (expect you to do).