business speak = yawn (or worse)

Years ago I gave a workshop about elevator speeches with some terrifically sharp, successful  business women. As I went around the room and listened to a few of them try out their newly crafted elevator speeches and the stories that accompanied them, I heard the all too familiar super duper boring “business speak” in which they were (not at all surprisingly) fluent.

The worst thing about business speak, even worse than its ability to induce sleep, is its inability to say what we really mean. One poor woman had written out a paragraph about “stakeholders” and “maximizing ROI” Her title, (which she told me she never tells people because it just confuses them) doesn’t even accurately depict what she does, which is to problem solve. She’s really truly a problem solver. How great a job is that??? What’s so bad about that for a title? “VP of Problem Solving” (and it sounded like she was really good at it to boot.)

Even my friend Jody Ferrer, who owns The Perfect Promotion, was struggling to talk about what she does. She was mumbling something about “apparel” HUH? How about “I get you in front of your clients and prospects even when you’re not there.” THAT would get people sitting up and taking notice. Then she could say, “We can put your name and logo on anything; but we don’t. We only put your name and logo on things that help illustrate who you are and what you do.”

Wouldn’t it be great if people started talking about what they DO in ways an eleven year old could understand and BE INTERESTED IN? How about if we could get people to gather up all the business speak words and throw ’em in a big black hole, never to be spoken again? (And while we’re at it, let’s throw in all the songs that should never be played again. But I digress…)

The next time you have the opportunity to talk about what you do; talk about it in language an 8 year old – or an 88 year old – could understand and be interested in. You won’t be putting people to sleep or making their heads spin. You’ll be heard.

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