Geek speek and acronyms have invaded many industry sectors. The value of turning shorter sentences into acronyms that fit on a car license plate is not a viable path forward. Challenge yourself by taking the level of your written and oral communication to new heights. Welcome to the world of 21st century communication.
Abandon Annoying Acronym Abuse
Not all remember the meaning of WYSIWYG. IMHO we 2DAY have gone too far with too much to RBTL, to a point where we have stopped to ROFL about it. We have run out of Three Letter Acronyms (TLA) and in many industries the amount of acronyms used is extensive and confusing. By using acronyms in text and visuals you will lose the connection to your audience. When using acronyms in conversations it is harder to follow you and the points you are trying to make. You are perhaps doing it to shine like the expert you are or wanting to be. But the use of acronyms work against you. You can increase the pace of what you say but the pace at the receiving end will go down. The least valuable acronyms are the ones we invent ourselves and use as if they were common knowledge. It is a strong ego boost to see an acronym you have invented to become adopted. But consider the odds for it happening to be low, and the price you need to pay in lost audiences along the road to be high.
Think Text & Tweet To Tell
The way we use written communication to convey messages has changed with the extensive use of TXT/SMS and Twitter. Since only 140/160 signs have been the limit we need to be straight to the point. If you challenge yourself of writing great texts in this shorter format you will be more interesting to listen to. More will also read your texts. Powerful one-liners are fashionable again. A strong one-liner can have an impact comparable to that of a good picture.
Create Constructive Conversation Climate
Humans enjoy talking with other humans. They get less interested when you talk to them and dislike when you talk for them. An important part of your communication skills is to create a climate for two way conversations. Sales situations are becoming less and less about me, myself and I and what I have to tell. The customer interest is shifting more to letting you, yourself and yours steer the nature of the conversations. This new drive demand for new ways of interacting with customers and the material you will use. Think conversation notes and the frequent use of You in your scripts and you will be far down the road. A good conversation note support you in knowing what to tell, know what to ask and knowing how to answer on the most common questions.
Cutting Context Complicate Communications
In a complex business environment your ability to communicate around vital contexts is central . Both from your customers to your own organization, and vice versa. Great listeners are great at capturing and articulating business contexts. In the communication to your customers the context for your points are vital to get it across. Context does not become clearer by adding larger number of words. Focus on capturing and conveying clear contexts. The example here is applicable both to oral, written as well as communication where visuals to support the speech.
- Car – base information
- Little Car – addition size context
- Little Yellow Car – adding color context
- Little Yellow Electricity Car – giving audience an idea what you talk about
- LYEC – Turing it into an acronym destroy most of the context.
Script Strong Sentences
As a marketing or sales person today you need copy-writer like skills. You need to be able to put words and sentences together. You should consider striving for becoming the master of powerful sentences. The person in your team that manages to put together what you want to tell in the first place. You should also aim to be the one cleaning out non-value adding words. Strong sentences work well both for headlines, as visual support and in oral communication. Movie makers have realized this and it is no coincidence everybody recognize “Hasta la Vista Baby”. Few would have remembered HLVB as a key take-away from Terminator.
As a non-native English speaker you sentence building can call you out in a negative way. A normal spellcheck have hard to tell write from wrong. Grammar checks can capture some of it but you might want to consider more sophisticated tools. It is today possible to screen your sentences for complexity, use of adverbs, the use of passive voice etc. Most need support in laying the final icing on the cake. and using tools is not to cheat.
Vibrant Vocabulary Values
Your sentences can be more exciting with a broader vocabulary and if not before now is the time to make the thesaurus your best friend. Do not select too sophisticated word but ones that make your writing and speaking stand out. Today we also have to consider the connection to Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in the selection of words. It is an art to adopt the right words used in your industry right know to make you blend in. And select a few special ones making you stand out.
My journey down the path on learning new exciting English words started in a language class half way through my career. When asked how I was doing on vocabulary and idiom, it got numb. As I had no real clue I started to take notes in meetings. Soon moved from yellow stickers to letter sized papers for my weekly collections. Writing alliteration is a good way to search for and adopting new words.
Numbers = Neat News Nutrition
Do not limit yourself to the use of A-Z in conveying your key messages. Every single sales message benefits from having one number in each sentence. No need to spell it out as one, two etc. as the impact is better when used as 0-9. Numbers are more distinct and carry a higher level of information than words. If you don’t know the right number, use a range or an estimate. By stating numbers you will get stronger and more precise reactions and feedback on your statements. Use your first impression and gut feeling to compare the following statements. Judge them for clarity and expected impact.
- Our proposal saves you both opex and capex – This 5th version of our proposal save you 14% in capex and 21% in Opex
- Global market trends points towards a growing ARPU – With your customer base you can aspire to grow revenues by $3-4/month per customer yearly.
- Business is moving faster and change is the new normal – In response to changes in the market environments we need to drive 4-6 new initiatives in 90 day stints to be able to respond.
Wordsmithing Wizards @ Work
Good questions to ask when crafting messages for your storyboards are:
- What are the commercial conversations that should be part of my story board – lay out 1 conversation per page on your story board
- What is the message and key take-away sentences I would like to focus the conversation around – suitable as headline and summary statements
- What can I do to make message more crisp and clear – Don’t dumb it down, clear it up
- Which alternative words can make the message more exciting – build on a mix to both blend-in and stand-out
- What are the metrics will make the message fly – the marketing alphabet has 36 ASCII signs.
For further reading in this area consider to following texts
- Use of acronyms can cause confusion [BLOGPOST] – by TimesUnion
- Just say no to technology acronym abuse [BLOGPOST] – by PeerSoftware
- How to write better sentences, better paragraphs, better everything [BLOGPOST] – by The AdventurousWriter
- Secrets to writing great headlines and brief bullets in PowerPoint [BLOGPOST]
- The power of a great simple sentence [BLOGPOST] – by Ever Widening Circles
- 5 ways to write damn good sentences [BLOGPOST] – by Demian Farnworth, CopyBlogger
- Geek Speak: a guide to new and outdated technology terms [INFOGRAPHIC] – by LifeHack
- Synonyms for the 96 most commonly used words in English – [BLOGPOST] – by JustEnglish
This blogpost is dedicated to Deborah Outhavong. She was my English teacher when moving to the US for the second time. She took on to be my language coach when I started to blog at a point when both grammar vocabulary and idioms needed a bit of a polish.