Eliminate Lingo for Small Biz Owners
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- March 27th, 2007
Technology products and services are famous (or infamous) for all the barely decipherable technical terminology.
Technical, legal, scientific and financial terminology — all can be confusing to the very people you are trying to communicate with: business owners.
The thing is, most small business owners are not subject-matter experts in your industry. When you use insider lingo it makes your company harder to do business with. Why? Because you put the burden on them to figure out your insider talk. In turn, that becomes a reason not to do business with you.
The CommWell Group has an excellent recorded podcast (or read the written transcript here) about writing in a style that makes it easier to understand. It covers three forms of English writing that smooth the communication process: Controlled English, Simplified English and Plain English.
As the podcast points out, the implications are even greater today given the large number of immigrants to the United States, especially Hispanics (remember that Hispanics are the largest group of minority small business owners). Add in the growing cross-border commerce that companies increasingly do, and you can see it becomes more important than ever to write in an understandable fashion.
The next time you are writing marketing materials, website copy, customer contracts or technical Help manuals, consider using language that your small business customers or prospects readily understand.
While you certainly do not want to talk down to business owners as if they are children, you do want to be understood by busy people who are not subject matter experts. That should be your goal.