Extra Mile Writing

Extra Mile Writing

Why the Language we use is so Important

two goats fighting

We all know that communication is critical.

In our personal lives, we’ve all lived through situations where what we’ve chosen to say, or how we’ve chosen to address something has made a world of difference to whether we’ve achieved a positive outcome or not.

couple having drink at sunset

Just like in our personal lives, the language we choose to use can either attract people to our businesses and build relationships with clients or potential clients, or turn people away from our businesses and erode relationships instead.

bonjour written on entry blackboard

Our ability to put ourselves in our client’s shoes, and to communicate in a way that shows consideration for them in everything we say is immensely important.

Clients and potential clients are of course just hard working human beings like you and I who need help with something.

They’ll check out your website and social media to assess whether you actually seem interested in helping people, and their key concern will be whether you might be trustworthy or not.

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As such, the language you use within your website and social media works best when it:

  • Is helpful, considerate and demonstrates great respect for the human beings reading it. Captain Cook Electrical provide a great example of a helpful business website.  They have a Help section with considerate and easy to read articles that cover a range of topics such as How To Choose The Right Ceiling Fan? and Why Does My Safety Switch Keep Tripping?  These articles helped me find them online, with the first listing in a search I did on a particular electrical topic.  If you need someone to create such articles to help your business attract potential clients, give me a call. 
  • Is direct, clear and to the point. This simply makes information easy to digest, rather than something people are going to choke on and therefore avoid eating in the future.
happy woman with arms in the air
  • Demonstrates your beautiful and unique personality and sense of humour. Woodland Gatherer provide a great example.  Their home page exudes personality, and they are very clear about freight times with customers up front, which demonstrates consideration and builds trust with customers and potential customers. 
woman looking bored at laptop

On the flip side, businesses should avoid the following language that doesn’t empower clients or make them feel like you are going to help them:

  • Don’t introduce or talk about anything as complex. Most things in life aren’t actually complex at all when you distil them down to their core.  And of course, telling your clients and customers that something is just so incredibly complex can take you on an ego trip but doesn’t help them one iota.  You are here as the expert that makes something that is supposedly complex understandable.  As Albert Einstein said, “If you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself.”
  • I recommend that words like “must” or “should” be avoided like the plague. Clients or customers are free to do whatever they want to do, and words like recommend will always do a much better job.
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  • It goes without saying that government speak is roundly awful and repellent.  Everyone hates official websites that present information in a dry, lifeless and often dictatorial manner.  We all have to deal with way too much of this already, and we don’t want to see any more of it.
  • Words that generate panic are also good to avoid. We’re all handling enough, and we don’t want to read sentences like, “The …… law is now in place, so you are required to ……”  Instead of this approach, you can talk about the subject in a helpful manner, showing ways people can achieve what they need to do, and inform them about where they might have additional time or options.  For example, most legislation doesn’t apply retrospectively, it only applies to something that comes into being after the date the legislation was introduced. 
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Overall, people will overlook an occasional spelling mistake or grammatical error, if they can see that the language you use communicates the beautiful you and your amazing business, and shows that you are trying to do the right thing. 

© Annemaree Jensen