Image:Nils Mindnich, TransWorld Snowboarding

Am I the only one puzzled by the terminology used in Olympic sports coverage? Every four years, sports like freestyle snowboarding are featured and I admit, I don’t know the difference between a Mellon Grabber and a Silver Fish, or an Alley-oop and the Truck Driver. And I’m guessing most people outside the sport don’t either.

While colorful language can spice up your communication, is there commonly-used terminology in your industry that sometimes spills over into conversations with uninitiated clients?

  • Copywriters create “blurbs”, or short snappy writing to tease the reader
  • Online marketers use acronyms like “SEO”, meaning Search Engine Optimization to ensure search engine algorithms find you or your website through searches on Google etc.
  • Portrait photographers refer to “air in the hair” to be corrected by a stylist when lighting is seen through a subject’s hair.
  • Investment advisors use a common industry phrase: “from cradle to grave” to describe serving a client through each life stage from raising a family to estate planning for end of life.

Speak the Language of Your Audience

Using baffling terminology can isolate your audience who may struggle to understand, fear they should know or hesitate to ask for clarification. Not recognizing industry specific terminology reduces engagement and connection, leading to alienation. To avoid this, be sure to use the language of your best clients to be sure to deliver your message.

Are your best clients sophisticated or naïve? A sophisticated client, like a snowboarder watching the Olympics, has regular exposure to the industry jargon. A naïve client, like I was watching snowboarding, may be entertained, willing to learn, or alienated by new terminology.

Be aware of your best client’s communication comfort level and use the language you need to connect and engage with them. If you need help speaking the language of your best client, we can help. Contact us to learn more.