Learn to Speak Their Language

[tentblogger-youtube YGR7W-yRmEk]

There were some incredible April Fools jokes passing around the internet earlier this week and about a 15 or so were from Google teams! The above video, featuring Jargon Bot, was one of my favorites besides Gmail Tap, Click to Teleport, and Chrome Multitask.

And I definitely gave it a laugh as I watched it, but as life would have it I was instantly plugged back into reality as my 1 year old daughter yelled in my face:

Booooo peease? Caakah! Okaaaaaaaay! tweet

What she was saying was:

I want more snacks please. tweet

Or, that’s what I think she was saying. The challenge of communicating clearly is a real one folks – how often we seem to forget this entirely when it comes to our blogs and our online websites.

The fact is that we too easily become used to the way that we communicate and incorrectly assume that everyone else is on the same page. This is especially obvious on more “technical” blogs but I see it happen in every industry and market – there is an assumed vernacular and it can catch the “new” reader off-guard (or completely turn them off).

One of the things that I’ve stumbled upon in my experience was the goal of making things as simple as possible – I try to assume nothing about the reader’s experience or knowledge. In fact, if I can, I’ll break it down step-by-step so that someone can follow along. I’d rather be offensively obvious than lose a potential longterm reader and fan!

It’s been very satisfying when I hear new-ish readers drop me a line thanking me for how I piece together the information in a way that’s understandable and that doesn’t kick them to the curb in terms of the language. They say, in essence, that I’m speaking their language. The neat thing is that it’s honestly everyones language to some degree – the art of information clarity and simplicity.

Dumb manager...

No one wants to work at understanding something, especially newer concepts or problems to solve – they need clear instructions and the support of someone to walk them through it and the empowerment of choice to not have to depend on you whenever they want.

Clearly that’s a different perspective than most as most bloggers want to keep their audience firmly planted on their blog scrolling through pages and pages of their content, right? Nah. I see people (through Google Analytics) jumping off of my blog quickly into other areas which is fantastic! That means they’ve gotten exactly what they need and now they are going to go do something with that information.

I’m a satisfied source of information at that point.

Are you speaking your reader’s language or are you making it more difficult for them to understand? Are you assuming that they’ve got a “Jargon Bot” installed in their browser or are you willing to “dumb it down” for their sake?

  • Eric Dye

    LOL!

    Great piece on effective communication. Symbolic interactionism FTW!

    • http://john.do John Saddington

      ;)

  • http://blog.bradkindercoaching.com Brad Kinder

    I loved these! Gmail tap was my favorite. I hadn’t seen them. Thanks for sharing!

    • http://john.do John Saddington

      sure thing brad!

  • http://www.lincolnparks.com Lincoln Parks

    Absolutely hilarious. I know some folks can use the Jargon bot for real.

    • http://john.do John Saddington

      i do too. sadly…

  • http://www.improvinglifedaily.com/ Ivan Chan

    I agree. Great bloggers write for their audience. Ordinary bloggers write for themselves.

    Your stuff is always “approachable”, John. Keep up the good work!

    • http://john.do John Saddington

      thanks ivan! i appreciate that!

  • http://www.struggletovictory.com Kari Scare

    When I was working outside of the home, I learned to hate acronyms. People threw them around like they were common words used in the dictionary. Even after a couple of years, I still struggled keeping them all straight. Acronyms can be helpful, but they can easily stifle communication too. This is just one example of how we need to pay attention to how we communicate to make sure our audience understands. It is the speaker’s job to make sure he/she is understood, but all to often a speaker will just assume that understanding is taking place. Assumptions hurt communication as much as acronyms.

    • http://john.do John Saddington

      i love this. assumptions really do hurt communication!