We all read Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves as kids. The eponymous shlub discovers that by uttering the words “open sesame,” the gates of a hidden treasure cave open wide.

Ali Baba’s a fairy tale, but it seems to have infected expectations around messaging for fundraising, advocacy and marketing. If only we can string the right words together in the right order riches will flow, right?

Wrong. Words do matter – we could not possibly agree more on that point. But they only have magical powers in Harry Potter books and fairy tales.

Language is critical, but the emotional tone of the message is even more so. The Open Sesame fantasy may in fact spring from the stubborn misbelief that communications is a left-brain function – a matter of rational thought.

It’s not the words of the song that opens hearts and wallets – it’s the music.