OMG, where did all the words go?

As a Wordsmith, I’ve always had a bit of an issue with text-messaging.  In fact, I consider texting a crime against language, and a major contributor to the rapid decline in young people’s ability to communicate effectively.

As a parent, though, I’ll admit I have found some value in texting.  I can send my kids messages I know will be seen nanoseconds after sending them.  I can also communicate with my kids in environments that are too loud or quiet for a phone call.  I even score “cool Dad points” when I’m swapping texts with the teens at a bball game or a dance (funny story for another time).

Sadly, my cool-points evaporate when the cool-kids see my texts include punctuation, capital letters , and complete words.  Call me old-school.  But I think increasing communication speed by cutting-off bits of words to make them easier to type is like a increasing a runner’s speed by cutting-off his head to make him more aerodynamic.  Sure it’s a valid choice, but I wouldn’t say it’s the best idea ever.

I get it.  I’m Fred Flintstone trying to communicate with the Jetsons (look it up kids, it’s a great analogy).  My texts make the teens “lol,” and their texts make me think, “wtf” (should that be censored…sorry, cnsrd?).  But grown-ups, please, don’t give in!  Use your words, and punctuation, and capital letters.  And who knows?  If actual words make a comeback, maybe using a phone to actually talk to each other will too!

Haha, jk.  (Darn it, how do I make that smiley again?)

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Who do you want to speak to?

I get upset when my teenage daughter demonstrates what I refer to as “advantageous-interpretation-disorder”…a condition that causes questions take on whatever meaning is easiest to answer. I ask, “Do you have any homework?” My daughter hears, “Do you have any homework you can’t finish during lunch tomorrow?” and with a brief look up from her phone replies, “Uhhh, no.”

Turns out business people have a similar condition when it comes to message development. I ask, “Who do you want to speak to?” They hear, “Who is your target market?” and respond with information like gender, age, income, marital status, or maybe a string of job titles, positions, and descriptions.

Marketing & demographic data are important. But when we focus only on facts, we lose sight of feelings. We gain information about markets we want to capture, but miss the emotions of the individuals with whom we’re trying to connect.  And in a time when people are drowning in information, it is the emotional insight that reaches them and makes them want to reach back.

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Reason #1 to Ditch the Pitch: convincing vs. connecting

We love buying things, but hate being sold things.  We go shopping looking for stuff to buy, but we tell the persistent salesperson to leave us alone.  We like searching the web for information, but we cringe when online ads and pop-ups search for us.  We enjoy the idea of getting something, but we hate the prospect of being told what we “must have.”

Too often, we answer the question, “What do you do?” with a pitch…a carefully planned, diligently memorized, rapidly recited commercial that we hope, if delivered properly, will generate a sale.  We itemize what we sell rather than illustrate what we offer.  We focus on building awareness instead of creating interest.   We try to impress rather than engage.

In a world where advertisers are continually trying to get us to do, try, or buy something, there’s no benefit to telling people you’re the Grand Poobah of United Widgets Incorporated, makers of the world’s top-rated gold-standard gadgets and gizmos, located at the intersection of So-What Street and Who-Gives-A-Crap Boulevard.  If you really want people to respond to your message, it’s time to trade the commercial that tries to convince for an introduction that strives to connect.  It’s time to ditch the pitch!
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Ready to ditch the pitch and create a message that people respond to?
Contact R.J. today!

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