How to Speak in Human

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Do your marketing communications have a case of the blah blah blahs? Follow these 5 tips for communicating in human, and your customers and prospects will want to hang out, and even buy stuff from you too.

Published in: Marketing

How to Speak in Human

  1. 1. by (and make customers wanna hug you)
  2. 2. The average consumer sees or hears almost 3,000 marketing messages per day.
  3. 3. And most of them sound like this:
  4. 4. blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blahblah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah And most of them sound like this:
  5. 5. Why? Because they sound like exactly what they are:
  6. 6. Sales pitches.
  7. 7. Sales pitches. Interruptions.
  8. 8. Sales pitches. Interruptions. Clutter.
  9. 9. Sales pitches. Interruptions. Clutter.
  10. 10. If you want to be heard, you have to stop talking like a marketer.
  11. 11. If you want to be heard, you have to stop talking like a marketer.
  12. 12. If you want to be heard, you have to stop talking like a marketer. And start talking like a human.
  13. 13. If you want to be heard, you have to stop talking like a marketer. And start talking like a human.
  14. 14. 1. Write the way you talk. 1.
  15. 15. Have you ever turned to your buddy while enjoying a beer and said…
  16. 16. Have you ever turned to your buddy while enjoying a beer and said… The CorpTech solution delivers an actionable competitive advantage. Seamless, state-of-the-art technology allows customers to maximize value.
  17. 17. If so, let’s not grab drinks sometime.
  18. 18. We don’t use business speak to talk to our friends, family and work besties. So why do we use it when we talk to our customers?
  19. 19. Business Speak A state-of-the-art lid-adhesive solution for packaged consumer foods with flexible adhesion, designed to significantly reduce the time-to-open
  20. 20. Human Speak This is a new kind of film lid for food containers that’s easier to open.
  21. 21. Human Speak This is a new kind of film lid for food containers that’s easier to open.
  22. 22. A couple reasons why business speak may creep into your communication with customers…
  23. 23. 1. You suffer from the Curse of Knowledge.
  24. 24. 1. You suffer from the Curse of Knowledge. (™ Robin Hogarth, super smart guy)
  25. 25. When you know a lot about something, it makes it harder for you to speak clearly to someone who doesn't know as much about that topic.
  26. 26. As an expert, you’re susceptible to scary things like long, rambly, technical descriptions. And jargon. Jargon’s the worst!
  27. 27. Your company and industry have jargon that everyone uses and understands. So throwing around the term “GOAP” is just everyday language to you.
  28. 28. Your company and industry have jargon that everyone uses and understands. So throwing around the term “GOAP” is just everyday language to you. Harrison, we need to reconnect on that GOAP issue after lunch. I’m a completely normal human saying normal things.
  29. 29. But your customer doesn’t get GOAP.
  30. 30. But your customer doesn’t get GOAP. GOAP might as well stand for “stop paying attention to this email right now.”
  31. 31. What to do
  32. 32. What to do • Sub in Plain English for business speak. How would you explain this concept to your mom? Write it that way instead.
  33. 33. What to do • If you have to use business speak, explain the jargony terms first, and then define them.
  34. 34. A Plain English, Explain First Example
  35. 35. A Plain English, Explain First Example You know when you can’t get the plastic film off your microwave meal? And you have to attack the film with a knife just to eat your chicken nuggets?
  36. 36. A Plain English, Explain First Example You know when you can’t get the plastic film off your microwave meal? And you have to attack the film with a knife just to eat your chicken nuggets? stab stab stab!
  37. 37. A Plain English, Explain First Example We call that GOAP—or Grossly Over-Adhesive Plastic—and our Handi-Lids are made with a different kind of plastic, so your customers don’t have to deal with GOAP and your lids peel off quickly and easily.
  38. 38. 2. You’re a B2B business, so you need to sound professional.
  39. 39. Legitimate…if you’re talking directly to a computer or an Excel spreadsheet. (And they’d probably rather you communicated in currency or binary code.)
  40. 40. Legitimate…if you’re talking directly to a computer or an Excel spreadsheet. (And they’d probably rather you communicated in currency or binary code.) 010011001100011 0001110111000111 0011001100011
  41. 41. Legitimate…if you’re talking directly to a computer or an Excel spreadsheet. (And they’d probably rather you communicated in currency or binary code.) 010011001100011 0001110111000111 0011001100011 *I love you
  42. 42. Companies are made up of people.
  43. 43. Sure, you shouldn’t mirror your writing after an Instagram comment.
  44. 44. Sure, you shouldn’t mirror your writing after an Instagram comment.
  45. 45. Sure, you shouldn’t mirror your writing after an Instagram comment. But there’s lots of comfy room between “LOL, BRB” and business speak.
  46. 46. 3. You want to make your product sound important.
  47. 47. Understandable. But people don’t care about important. They care about:
  48. 48. Understandable. But people don’t care about important. They care about: • Is this easy to understand?
  49. 49. Understandable. But people don’t care about important. They care about: • Is this easy to understand? • Can this help me?
  50. 50. Understandable. But people don’t care about important. They care about: • Is this easy to understand? • Can this help me? • No really, can this help me?
  51. 51. Instead of thinking about how fancy your product sounds, focus about what the customer cares about. Which reminds us…
  52. 52. 1. Talk to “you.” 2.
  53. 53. Who is you?
  54. 54. You is the person you’re talking to.
  55. 55. You is the person you’re talking to. Not your target audience
  56. 56. You is the person you’re talking to. Not “moms age 28-34 who buy organic and are imaginary BFFs with Olivia Pope” Not your target audience
  57. 57. You is the person you’re talking to. Not “moms age 28-34 who buy organic and are imaginary BFFs with Olivia Pope” Not your target audience omg kale
  58. 58. For right now, “you” is Emily, who works at a packaging company.
  59. 59. For right now, “you” is Emily, who works at a packaging company.
  60. 60. One of the simplest, easiest ways to make you’re sure talking to a person and not a smooshed-up demographic chunk of people is to use the word you.
  61. 61. Smooshed-Up Chunk Handi-Lids allow our customers to save an average of $13,500 a year in lid materials costs.
  62. 62. Smooshed-Up Chunk Handi-Lids allow our customers to save an average of $13,500 a year in lid materials costs. You You can save an average of $13,500 on your lid materials costs.
  63. 63. See how much more personal that sounds? Emily is feeling appreciated already.
  64. 64. Which is more than she gets from her layabout husband and two unappreciative gerbils.
  65. 65. 1. Don’t assume. Ask. 3.
  66. 66. So we’re talking directly to Emily.
  67. 67. Emily, can we call you Em? Yes? Great.
  68. 68. Another way to make sure that we’re talking to our friend Em is to ask her questions instead of assuming that we know about her needs.
  69. 69. Your research can give you insights into what your audience cares about overall, but it can’t tell you what Em cares about.
  70. 70. research says: cost, materials, efficiency
  71. 71. research says: cost, materials, efficiency tacos!!!!!
  72. 72. For example, your research may say that your primary targets work in the manufacturing department and care most about cost.
  73. 73. But ol’ Em actually works in marketing, and she cares most about consumer-friendly features— in this case, how Handi-Lids open wicked fast.
  74. 74. But ol’ Em actually works in marketing, and she cares most about consumer-friendly features— in this case, how Handi-Lids open wicked fast.
  75. 75. But ol’ Em actually works in marketing, and she cares most about consumer-friendly features— in this case, how Handi-Lids open wicked fast.
  76. 76. How would you ever know that’s what Em does? You can ask.
  77. 77. Hi Em, thanks for chatting with me today.
  78. 78. Hi Em, thanks for chatting with me today. So tell me: what do you do over at your company?
  79. 79. Hi Em, thanks for chatting with me today. So tell me: what do you do over at your company? Manufacturing Sales Marketing Another department
  80. 80. Other ways to ask: Does your child know what they want to be when they grow up?
  81. 81. Asking is a really important part of communicating in human.
  82. 82. Think about it: which is more pleasant?
  83. 83. Think about it: which is more pleasant? A conversation where the other person just yammers on and on
  84. 84. Think about it: which is more pleasant? A conversation where the other person just yammers on and on blahdy blah blah
  85. 85. Think about it: which is more pleasant? A conversation where the other person just yammers on and on One where the other person asks you questions and helps you be heard blahdy blah blah
  86. 86. Think about it: which is more pleasant? A conversation where the other person just yammers on and on One where the other person asks you questions and helps you be heard blahdy blah blah ? 
  87. 87. Asking allows you to find out what people actually care about. Then, you can share the information that’s most relevant to them, which keeps them tuned in.
  88. 88. 1. Practice empathy. 4.
  89. 89. It can be really easy in business communications to focus on checking a box, especially when something goes wrong.
  90. 90. Like, for example, when you sent someone the wrong kazoo.
  91. 91. Like, for example, when you sent someone the wrong kazoo. I wanted blue    
  92. 92. That email checks the box. It tells the customer that you made a mistake, and you are correcting it.
  93. 93. But does it sound like you care? You probably really do!
  94. 94. There is a real person over in shipping who feels really sad he put the green kazoo in the box instead of the blue kazoo and now the customer is sad!
  95. 95. To communicate in human, you need to practice empathy and put yourself in the customer’s shoes.
  96. 96. To communicate in human, you need to practice empathy and put yourself in the customer’s shoes. Here’s an empathetic version of that same email:
  97. 97. And don’t save all these wonderful emotions for “we screwed up” communications.
  98. 98. Making a human connection can help people make the decision to take the next step.
  99. 99. So help people feel something, and you are helping them take action.
  100. 100. So help people feel something, and you are helping them take action. *Ideally about your product, and not about meerkat politics or something.
  101. 101. So help people feel something, and you are helping them take action. *Ideally about your product, and not about meerkat politics or something. I am the king!
  102. 102. Another example of practicing empathy: How do you feel when you hear the word “budget”?
  103. 103. 1. Don’t be boring. 5.
  104. 104. Did you know:
  105. 105. Did you know: Every time someone is reading your marketing message, they could be watching a video about a deer and a dog that are best friends?
  106. 106. Click to see a deer and dog be adorable! We’ll wait until you come back. Picture and video via National Geographic
  107. 107. It’s true. And while your marketing may never be quite as enthralling as interspecies BFFs…
  108. 108. You can use fun to help your messages grab attention—and keep it.
  109. 109. A Normal Speed Display Sign
  110. 110. A Normal Speed Display Sign
  111. 111. Not very fun.
  112. 112. A Fun Speed Display Sign
  113. 113. A Fun Speed Display Sign Tells you you’re under the speed limit. Fun!
  114. 114. The fun sign with the smiley face reduced speeding by 55% over the normal sign.
  115. 115. Fun makes people change their behavior.
  116. 116. More Fun
  117. 117. A group in Sweden wanted to get more people to throw their trash in garbage cans. More Fun
  118. 118. A group in Sweden wanted to get more people to throw their trash in garbage cans. More Fun So they asked themselves, “how can we make this more fun?”
  119. 119. More Fun Via the smarties at The Fun Theory
  120. 120. In one day, people threw 72 kg of trash into the fun can.
  121. 121. They only threw 42 kg of trash into the normal can nearby.
  122. 122. You can use fun to make customers want to hang out with you. And take the next step.
  123. 123. You can use fun to make customers want to hang out with you. And take the next step. Even if you’re not in a “fun” industry.
  124. 124. Take this example from GE. (Power, appliances, etc.…not exactly what the kids are talking about.)
  125. 125. From GE’s Pinterest Page See the original image here.
  126. 126. Make your communication fun, and people will want to listen.
  127. 127. Make your communication fun, and people will want to listen. Wheeeee tell me more about toner cartridgesssss!
  128. 128. 1. Speak human in everything that you do. 6!Special bonus
  129. 129. • Error messages
  130. 130. • Error messages • Logging in
  131. 131. • Error messages • Logging in • Chat support
  132. 132. • Error messages • Logging in • Chat support • Invoices
  133. 133. • Error messages • Logging in • Chat support • Invoices • Everything!!!
  134. 134. And your customers and prospects will love you for it.
  135. 135. Check out examples of our quite human Interactive Conversations blog Visit our blog where we muse about Damn Good Communication

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