So, I found myself wondering what a fitness business and a Financial Advisor had in common. Or an Executive Coach and a café chain. I had no idea where the expert in precious metals fitted into the mix or the dance school.
Different sizes, different industries, different set of customers.
And yet, I’ve discovered two things that link all of these businesses together.
Firstly, they all want to grow their businesses by connecting with more people. To do this they need new (better!) words for their websites, brochures or advertising to explain what it is they do and why someone should buy it. *Ahem* That’s where I come in.
Secondly, almost without fail, every industry I’ve looked at in the course of my client work, has been littered with examples of poor use of language! By this, I don’t mean technically or grammatically (although there are plenty of bad examples there too), what I mean is just a frustrating over-use of business speak and jargon.
Too much blah
You know the stuff. It’s all about “solutions” and “strategies”. Or those classics “value” and “quality”. Then of course there’s the “creative thinkers” and those who “push the envelope”. What?!
Really, all it amounts to is a load of words that don’t really mean anything. They’re non-descript. They don’t explain how your company will solve my problem better than the next guys. And they certainly don’t communicate to me with any degree of personality.
I recently did some competitor research for a new client, looking at Architects websites. I looked at about ten websites, mostly small to medium sized practices. I was bowled over by blandness. Not one stood out through its use of language. Needless to say they all promised to deliver good value and quality. And of course they were all creative thinkers. Well, yes.
There seems to be this general misconception in business that to sound professional and credible you need to communicate like this. In the past, particularly in a corporate environment, I’ve done it myself loads. Most people do. The result is that many a fantastic business (or individual) does themselves a disservice by simply not explaining themselves clearly.
So, I’d like to encourage people to get back on the Plain English bandwagon. Cast off your boring old business speak. Instead, love language and use it to your advantage.