Do you instantly wake up when you smell coffee brewing in the morning? Is there a certain food your mother used to make that takes you back to when you were eight and sitting in her kitchen?
All of the five senses are important, but the sense of smell gives us a tremendously powerful link to past events and the emotions associated with them. You probably think of how smell plays a role in your own life, but have never given it a second thought when it comes to communicating with other people.
The secret is using smell words to deliver Olfactory Cues
Here’s an amazing communication device. If you don’t believe me, check it out and see for yourself.
When you speak to someone, try to add in smell descriptions. I call them Olfactory Cues, because that’s exactly what they do. You’re using the olfactory sense (smell) to help build a deeper connection with the person you’re speaking to.
Your goal is to find a way to slip a smell description into the conversation.
If you’re talking about skiing, you might bring up the smell of hot chocolate or the smell of the mountain pine trees. A sample phrase (if you’re talking about skiing) might be, “One of the best parts of the day, is when you pull up to the chalet and smell all the food.”
Look for olfactory cues in someone’s office
I’m a big fan of scoping out the office of a prospective client (check out my post on acing the first minute of a sales call). You can learn tremendous amounts of information about a client based on the books they read, the cleanliness of their desk, and photos hanging on the wall.
Look for a few of their hobbies or passions, and then think of smells typically associated with them. For instance, if someone has a picture of their boat, an easy olfactory cue would be something like, “Once you’re set up with Product X, you’ll be back out in the salty ocean breeze reading a book in no time.”
You don’t need to be fancy with your words. You can say ‘coffee’ and the person will remember the smell of their favourite coffee. If you try to reference something more obscure, like a no fat, extra hot, vanilla soy latte, the client will deservedly be suspicious.
Start using descriptive olfactory words
Something else to try is using different words to describe the smells around you so you don’t become repetitive. If you do change things up, remember to avoid obscure or unusual phrases, as it’ll draw attention to yourself.
I recommend going to a resource like Thesaurus.com and searching for smell related words. Look at a lot of words and then choose five to seven that you’d like to add to your general vocabulary. The key is to pick words that you can say, without sounding out of place.
Here are some sense of smell word suggestions: