There are certain politicians who have made it an art form to speak in 8th grade English. Now, their critics have a field day with this speaking style because they think these politicians are being condescending. They think that these professional legislators and executives are talking down to people. Well, there’s actually quite a bit of method to the madness.
You have to understand that in our modern society, people are busy. Time is a luxury for most Western Europeans and Americans. And given this heightened concern for one’s time when watching a video, reading an email or consuming social media content, it’s easy to see what people do when they get confused. If they get confused, they simply choose to stop reading. Worse yet, when they get confused, they stop caring.
Keep this in mind when you are running a mailing list because your list can easily fill up with list squatters. These are people who, on the face of it, are interested in what you have to offer. Now, the interest is evidenced by the fact that they remain on your list, but don’t let this fool you.
There are a lot of people who remain on mailing lists, but have made it a point to quickly delete updates from the lists they don’t care about. They feel that they just don’t have the time, so they can’t be bothered with actually unsubscribing from your list. The end result is that your list is filled up with squatters.
The Key Takeaway
The key takeaway here is simple. Email recipient confusion is kryptonite to your business. It doesn’t get any simpler than that. If your list members are confused, in any way, shape or form, by your updates, then your business is about to go belly up.
Politicians use the power of 8th grade English because they want to speak at the lowest common denominator. It doesn’t matter whether a person is a high school graduate, did not finish high school, has a PhD, has a college degree or a master’s degree, they all will get 8th grade English.
Focus on the least common denominator so you can communicate to the needs of your list members in a direct way. If you fall for the common trap of talking in jargon or technical talk, this is going to come back to haunt you.
The Double-Edged Danger of Jargon and Technical Talk
a lot of list marketers who are under the impression that if they talk in a scientific or technical way,
will gain credibility. To a certain
is true, but it totally depends
on your audience.
If you are speaking to graduate students, for example, then you can talk a lot of theory. If you’re speaking to scientists, you can jump in with both feet and use all sorts of technical language. However, if you have a mixed audience of different educational attainment and people from different backgrounds, you cannot play that game.
For every person you convert and convince that you are some sort of authority, you will turn off ten people. The bottom line is simple: stop trying to impress. Instead, focus on communicating and motivating people in a clear way.
Write in 8th grade English. Shoot
for the lowest common denominator. If people
understand you, it’s easier for you
to persuade them. If people cannot
understand you or have the impression that you think you’re better than them, then it’s going to
be doubly hard
for you to convince them. That’s the bottom line.