Cognitive Fluency – Jesse Grillo
Cognitive Fluency

Easier to read statements are judged to be more truthful.

People prefer things they feel are easier to think about and easier to understand. Not only do they prefer them, people are more confident in their ability to make decisions about them.


When things don't feel easy to think about, that disfluency functions as a cognitive alarm that gets people to slow down and reassess a situation. That can lead them away from their initial decision to buy a product or sign up for a service.


While the words you choose are important for cognitive fluency, so too is the way you display them.


Cluttered layouts, not enough white space, and typefaces that are difficult to read can also impact people's ability to process your marketing messages.


Resist the urge to cram as much information as possible into an ad, letter, or email, as well as the temptation to use unusual typefaces for large swaths of text.


While an unusual font can attract attention, it can also impair readership.


Your potential customers will believe information displayed in a difficult-to-read typeface will be difficult to do.


Marketers should note that legibility of type is not just a function of the font. The contrast between the color of the type and the color of the page or screen it appears on also makes a difference. And that difference in readability can impact your sales.


Try to get your message across in a simple, easily absorbed way.


Jargon and buzzwords are toxic. Stay away whenever possible.


Watch out for acronyms, technical terms, and words that may be confusing or unfamiliar to your target.


Choose words that are accessible and easy for your customers and prospects to understand, even if you are writing to an educated or professional audience.


Don’t try to impress your audience by using large words and technical terms. Marketers sometimes think this helps to position them as experts. However, it can backfire. It can even backfire when your audience should be familiar with the terms, or when you are targeting highly educated people.


If you deliberately want to slow down your reader so they do not miss or forget a point, or to prompt them to make a more considered decision, you can introduce some disfluent copy. However, know that your readers will have to be very motivated to stay engaged and you'll risk losing them.

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