Dumbing It Down vs. Clearing It Up

So often, our efforts to outshine our competitors result in overselling ourselves. We attempt to position ourselves as experts in our field and confirm that position by using complex language and industry-specific terms. We try to impress rather than inform, and we end up with a message that is more confusing than compelling.  

Clients often tell me they don’t want to “dumb down” their message. “If people don’t understand our product, they’re not our target customer anyway.”  Well, I don’t know how a refrigerator works. But I definitely need one. And when I buy one, it’s not because a refrigerator expert gives me a lesson in refrigerator technology that optimizes cooling and tells me when I should buy more fruit and less ice cream. It’s because someone I'm comfortable with introduces me to a reliable machine that keeps stuff cold.

Simplicity is not a sign of stupidity. It’s a path to clarity that truly engages listeners and moves them to the best possible response, “Tell me more."  


Let's talk about making your business' message simply amazing. Contact The Wordsmith today!

Messaging Secret #15: Spellcheck Doesn’t Know Write From Wrong

I remember discovering spellcheck…a seemingly magical function of the fancy new typing program on the newfangled computer.

I thought to myself, “It’s like an English teacher in the computer!” Turns out, it’s not. Because while spellcheck may indicate when you’ve typed the wrong spelling, it will not indicate when you’ve typed the wrong word.

Don’t Itemize…Illustrate!

People often ask, “So, what do you do?” But they never ask, “So, what do you sell?” And with the zillions of ads and promotions being driven into our laptops, tablets, and phones every moment of every day, we’ve become very skilled at recognizing and ignoring sales pitches…online, in print, and in person.

Avoiding Business Wedgies

Skipping through the cable guide the other day, I came across the cinematic masterpiece, “Revenge of the Nerds.” I enjoyed that movie, but not for the same reasons as my friends (not entirely). Beyond the triumph of the super-smart over the super-strong, the nerds demonstrated the power of packaging and how it affects perception and acceptance.

Being Efficient Doesn’t Guarantee You’re Being Effective

Elevator pitches are about being efficient. You need to be quick, because when the bell rings and the doors open, your audience is going to leave (or depending on the length of the ride, run away). You need to be thorough, because if you don’t name every product you have, you might miss the one your listener needs. And you need to offer (force-feed) your business card, because it’s possible your business name or logo might remind them of the commercial they just ignored while counting down the moments until their escape.