Ever watch reruns of The Dating Game? On each episode, a bachelorette would ask questions to each of the three bachelors, who were hidden from her view. The men’s replies helped the bachelorette decide which guy to date.
The men whose comments came off as arrogant, self-absorbed, or boring rarely fared well. Those who sounded personable, intriguing, and intelligent often won the date. No surprise there, right?
That’s the power of speaking human. It works just as well in business as it did on The Dating Game.
Speaking human captures people’s attention. It helps form an instant connection with your clients and prospects. Above all, it sparks “ah-ha” moments where people say, “This company gets me.”
Speaking human also sets you apart from the competition and can help grow your business, especially in a world cluttered with information overload.
7 tips to speak human
So how to do you connect with customers and prospects in a real way? Try these 7 tips:
- Write the way you talk. What’s your company all about and why should anyone care? Too often, companies use verbiage like this: “In 1990, the company was restructured with a specific goal in mind: Building a responsive member-driven information system that delivers value.” Not very engaging, right? It’s not even easy to decipher. What if it were written like this? “You need the right software to increase your efficiency and save you money. For nearly 30 years, we’ve designed cost-effective solutions that can be tailored to your specific needs.” Same information, but much easier to understand. Speaking human makes it much more likely that your audience will listen and take action.
- Simplify the complex. Too often companies complicate what they’re trying to say. It’s the simplicity of our favorite communicators, brands, and products that build loyalty, because we get what they’re saying. Granted, it takes a lot of hard work to make something so complex look so simple. Some call it brilliance. I call it speaking human.
- Unleash the power of stories. One of the best ways to simplify the complex is to tell a story. In business, a story or case study can describe a real-life challenge, detail your solution, and show the benefits that resulted from this solution. Consider stories and case studies the ultimate “power tools” to speak human
- Mix it up. Storytelling is an art and a science. When you’re sharing stories and case studies, speak to the head and the heart. A story well-told will capture the imagination, while a story supported with relevant data can convince the mind. Both elements help create messages that address people’s deepest needs and position you as the expert who can help.
- Don’t be afraid to reveal that (gasp!) you’re not perfect. It’s so tempting to portray everything as perfect, totally under control, no problems. Real life isn’t perfect, though. Your clients know this. While you don’t want to come off as incompetent, there is a time and a place to reveal an area of vulnerability, especially if this issue has been addressed and corrected. When an ag cooperative’s earnings were lower than expected, this company used an article in its newsletter to explain that tight grain margins were a big part of the challenge. The article also highlighted other measures of financial strength that were driven by the co-op’s skilled, dedicated team. That’s speaking human.
- Beware of the curse of knowledge. You’re intimately familiar with your company’s products and services. In fact, you’re such an expert on them that it’s probably hard for you to remember what it was like not to know everything about them, right? This is the curse of knowledge, and it can make it tough for you to explain your product to non-experts—i.e., your customers and prospects. Speaking human helps you overcome the curse of knowledge, because it encourages you to think like your audience and communicate in ways that connects with them.
- Seek someone outside your company to help. Speaking human may sound like a “duh” concept, but it can be extremely difficult to do. Why? We all get stuck in our silos where we only see the world from our perspective. Your world is not your target audience’s world, though. What keeps your clients and prospects up at night? What do they aspire to? If your marketing doesn’t speak to these needs, your messages will fall flat. At best, they’ll be ignored. At worst, you’ll sound tone deaf and drive customers away. Often an outside perspective is the only effective way to help you break out of your silo, identify connections that will help you speak human and create messages that resonate.
Ready to speak human? VistaComm’s team of journalists, designers and marketers are here to help you craft messages that create a match between you and your ideal customers. Just contact us, and we’ll set up a time to chat. It’s a date!