Villing & Company

Don't Communicate Like a Toddler

My daughter is a little over 17 months old so she knows a few words. The most impressive of these words are "balloon," "blanket," "bedroom" and "brachiosaurus." Of course, when she articulates those words, they all sound like "ba" so you have to know the context to really pick up what she's saying. Come to think of it, almost all of her vocabulary consists of one-syllable grunts that require the equivalent of a toddler Rosetta Stone to understand.

Recently, she's started using the word "ousch" in nearly every context. She says it very deliberately and repeats it frequently, but no one can figure out what she's trying to say. It's clear that "ousch" makes complete sense in her head, but unfortunately, there's no ousching way for us to figure out what the ousch that is.

Meanwhile, I've been working on a project for a technology company. A lot of their sales material contains technical language and jargon that is very difficult for me to understand, much less someone who doesn't work in the technology field. Companies often make the mistake of thinking that the more technical language they use, the more impressed their prospective customers will be.

In most cases, I think this is a mistake.

To your target market, all that technical lingo is often a bunch of "ousch." You might be saying it with conviction and repeating the same words a lot, but the customer doesn't understand a word of it. And if they can't understand you, it's going to be difficult for them to understand the benefit you offer.

Think of that the next time you're thinking of including a technical word. If you replaced it with "ousch" would the meaning still be clear from the context? If not, I'd suggest finding a better way of explaining yourself, so that your customers actually understand what you're saying.

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Villing & Company

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South Bend IN 46601

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