The ancient Jaguar-kings of tropical America used pictures and ideograms to communicate ideas. Ideograms are totem-images that explain larger concepts. As such, they wrote down in stone everything we need to know about leadership, creative intelligence and personal power by recounting the myth of Quetzalcoatl. That ideogram tells about 5 totem animals who guide the human mind.

Writing is often more persuasive than verbal communications. The written word allows little room for error and even less for ambiguity so a message can work its way more deeply into the reader’s mind.

This means writers face more challenges than speakers because of the risk that spelling, grammar or punctuation mistakes can change the meaning or intent of their message.

A lot of people are intimidated by the prospect of writing - even if there are times when that’s the best way to communicate. Often enough it’s the only way to get the message across. Proper wording - despite its power to attract and seduce readers - is often ignored by most writers.

Companies often spend thousands of dollars on advertising photography and a location-shoot but very little to better their written message. Film-makers will invest in actors, sets and blowing things up but remain resistant to spending money for a great script.

Here are 5 ways experts suggest we can improve our word skills:

  1. Lead with the benefits. Help people imagine using product or service in the present tense. Mention features that sell and substantiate claims.
  2. Reinforce reader motivation. Hold interest by using fewer details but by making stronger statements in subtle ways.
  3. Spice up your verbs. Replace conventional ones with verbs that convey life and action to your copy.
  4. Frost the copy. Find interesting, unusual ways to say what might otherwise be ordinary or dull. Add very descriptive nouns and adjectives where appropriate.
  5. Choose words that are “sales” proven. Draw inspiration from copy that sells. Look for professional copy with buzz words that motivate you or a direct mail piece that may have raked in millions of dollars.

Whether it's a letter, an email or a page for the Internet, you can optimize the art of persuasion with writing that is well-structured, easy to read and simple to understand. By using words that are very descriptive, you can increase your bottom line.

The art and science of writing involves strategically using words that promote a person, product, business, opinion or idea, with the intent of having the reader take some form of action. If your copy doesn’t persuade people to buy-in to your ideas, maybe you should carefully consider your words.