Accountancy Marketing: Stop Being So Professional
By Patrick McLoughlin – Accountancy Marketing
Usually I love long train train journeys, especially after a day of meetings. They give me an opportunity to scribble up the notes before I forget the details. Once that’s done, I can lean back and watch the countryside glide by, utter oblivion, its wonderful.
But last Friday I chose the wrong seat. As we left St Pancras a voice in front started roaring down his mobile and he didn’t stop an hour. It wasn’t just the volume that broke my peace but his ridiculous language.
At one stage he barked down the line: “I need to know who will action that activity.” He repeated himself a couple of times before lowering his voice and mumbling: “I mean who’s going to photocopy the report?”
It’s not a conscious decision, but an instinctive reaction to behave how we think we should under the spotlight. The problem is, as Mr Noisy found out, its an obstacle to understanding; it keeps your clients and prospects at a distance.
My favourite definition of good writing is: good thinking expressed clearly. Big words and complex sentences don’t impress, they alienate and intimidate. Your clients and prospects switch off. It doesn’t matter how special your difference is, deliver it in ‘professionalese’ and your message is diluted at best, ignored at worst.
So look out for any of these, most popular words from the professional-ese dictionary:
Assist – Help
Purchase – Buy
Beverage – Drink
Adjacent – Next to
Regret – Sorry
You get the picture. We can bundle a dozen or two cliches into the list as well.
Whatever we might think of Tony Blair, one of the reasons his message broke through with such force, back in the 90s, was his delivery. After the cardboard politicians that came before him, he came across as human and genuine.
So think about how you introduce yourself and the specific words you use, Look through your website copy for examples and tear down that you’ve built. Its not your vocabulary that impresses but your clarity.