If you were asked to describe your company or organisation and what it does, in just one or two sentences, how many words would be jargon?
When talking to people on the outside of your business, are you often using language that sure, sums things up for you, but means diddly squat to them?
We're all guilty. Even PR practitioners. In fact, most definitely PR practitioners. ROP, Sunday for Monday, DPS and spiked... clear as day to someone in the industry but if I used them when talking to a potential client, not only do they make absolutely no sense, it also shuts down the conversation. No-one wants to be the idiot that asks a potentially obvious question.
I was recently asked to look over a brochure that needed a rewrite. I read it (more than once) but had no idea what the company offers. I'm sure they thought the message was clear. It's likely it'ssimilar to other literature they've produced. It's all too easy to cut and paste, rehashing the same convoluted information. It's amazing how long the life span of bad wording can be.
With this in mind, here are my top tips to avoid industry gobbledygook and confusion when it comes to communicating with potential new customers (or anyone outside your business).
- Think about who will be reading what you've written. Who is your audience and what's important to them?
- Remove any technical words that your customers aren't likely to understand.
- Keep it simple. Don't go into too much detail - otherwise you're in danger of boring your target audience.
- Get someone who knows nothing about your industry to read your brochure or marketing materials. Can they understand it?
- Read anything you've written out loud. If you're stumbling over words and have to take a breath mid sentence, chances are it's too long and complex.
Now go forth, talk plainly and engage!