People know more than you think

It’s useful to remember that in most commercial contexts, the audience has already done its research on your organization, and there’s probably a reason why those in the audience are listening to you.You’ve probably already piqued their interest, got through on the cold call, invited them to the event, got through the editor to appear on a print page, or otherwise convinced them to stop off at your web site. It matters less that the next few moments might be few indeed before they move on.

So you probably don’t have to give them your organization’s life story.

You probably don’t need to waste space and time with words and phrases that mean little, move your story forward not at all, and don’t convince them about what you have to sell or the point you wish to make.

Words and phrases like:

  • trusted partner (why claim you aren’t, even it were true?);
  • ideal combination of x, y and z (says who?);
  • leverage innovative services (OK: leverage is the action of a lever on a fulcrum, so it’s lever, or perhaps exploit, and innovation is the most over-used word on the planet, so even if what you produce really is innovative, don’t claim that it is);
  • robust (you wouldn’t claim if it wasn’t, so claiming that it is means little);
  • unparalleled history/record of doing something (in the whole of human history? Really? And what does this mean to my business in any case, and if it’s true, can I afford it?);
  • expert team (marginal, OK if you can demonstrate that your team is indeed expert, but again, you’re hardly going to call the team ‘reasonably switched on much of the time’).

And so on.

Don’t misuse oxygen or print space or screen space. As Strunk and White remind us, omit needless words.

After all, this blog post would be half its length without the examples quoted above.

(Web site links provided for information, with neither endorsement nor warranty.)

About alansmithoz

Head of Strategic Business Communications at Australian social analytics technology company Digivizer, with a background in corporate public relations and marketing. I do what I do because I believe communications can make a difference.
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