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When my son was young, I tried to help him develop a more extensive vocabulary by employing the word a day method. You know the drill. We’d both find a way to use that new and usually, unusual, word in a sentence by day’s end.It must have worked because he’s brilliant and his vocab is extensive!
So, why I/we stopped doing this is beyond me. In fact, it turns out, according to new research from MIT, called Understanding productivity in the Information Age, using unusual words goes far beyond broadening vocabulary and helping with clarity; it measurably increases productivity. Here is what the researchers found:

Workers who receive more novel information (as measured by an unusual word appearing in the company’s e-mail traffic and then diffusing through part of the firm’s e-mail network) had measurably higher productivity than others. In this study, encountering just 10 novel words more than the average worker was associated with $700 more in revenue generated per employee.”

MIT is happy to sell you the entire report but first check out the blog, A Better Course for a good interpretation of their research. Whatever you do, start incorporating unusual words into your emails. Start with the subject line. Don’t go crazy, of course, or your message will end up in the spam filter. Enhance productivity through Word of the Day. Who knew?

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