Technobabble – The Nerd's Revenge
Every industry, every product, every service has its’ own jargon or buzz words, it other words its’ own vocabulary. These industry specific words are usually appropriate shorthand for use among those within their industry, but when used to communicate with a (usually naïve) customer or prospect, the vocabulary becomes Technobabble… word usage of the conversationally impaired.
It is easy, of course, to pick on the computer or Information Technology industries in this regard, but if you think about it, people in most industries need to talk to in somewhat technical terms to customers and prospects to explain the features and benefits of their product. Those who are good communicators have thought about ways to develop a virtual “Technobabble-to-English-Dictionary” so the customer or prospect can comprehend the message in easily understood language!
Who hasn’t heard a banker talking about ROI, an investment advisor bringing up the topic of P/E ratios, a medical profession discussing the results of an MRI, I could go on and on here but you get the message, or if you don’t, I don’t think you ever will.
I recently received proposals from two competing firms. One was so filled with buzzwords and acronyms I had to phone twice for translations. The second was easy to read and comprehend. I understood what I would be getting, how and when the work would be done, and what the project would cost. I had confidence they would be easy to communicate with as the project progressed and, of course, that is the company I chose.
Even if you don’t sell a technology based product or service, your customers and prospects probably don’t know much about whatever it is they want or need to purchase (or they wouldn’t need an expert like you!) so make it easy for them to buy. Explain what you are selling as if you are selling to an eight-year old. Use simple language or, if you must use more complex language, translate it by using phrases like, “what I mean by [whatever the technical term is]… ” and then explain it in terms they will easily understand. This gives them information they can use to make decisions, builds confidence and trust.
In an age when products in every industry are more sophisticated and complex, clear and concise communication increases understanding and builds confidence on the part of the prospect. Inspect your own advertising, packaging, brochures, and spoken communications. See if someone who knows nothing about your products or industry can understand the benefits. If they can, then you are a great communicator and marketer!