Deborah Brody Marketing Communications Percolating Creative Ideas * * * June 3, 2015 Greetings! I have been thinking a lot about language—the wor

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Deborah Brody Marketing Communications

Percolating Creative Ideas

June 3, 2015

Rosa de Jamaica

Refreshing tropical drink!


I have been thinking a lot about language—the words we choose to use—and how it impacts our ability to understand. Communicating well—getting our exact message across to our target audience—takes time and effort. It’s especially hard to communicate complex topics like technology or scientific research to a general audience. I have suggestions below.

Humor seems like a great way to break the ice and perk people’s attention. However, you need to be sensitive to cultural differences, especially when using sarcasm. Read 3 big reasons to avoid sarcasm on your business blog for more.

What have you been working on? Please let me know if there is a writing or copy editing project I can help with.

Wishing you a great start to summer,



Language Issues

“Learning the language is vital to success-not just English, but the language of banking, the language of business.” Maria Contreras-Sweet, Administrator, U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) speaking on May 19 at the National Journal’s Women in Washington event.

Administrator Contreras-Sweet is 100% correct. If you want to fit in, and succeed, you will have to learn the language. If you wanted to live in France, you would do well to learn French. Every industry has its language, its jargon. To become an insider and effective in your chosen field, you will inevitable have to learn “terms of art.” You can’t sell investments if you don’t know the difference between a mutual fund and an index fund.

You may run into language issues when trying to communicate with people outside your field (or country). People who don’t speak your language need some translation and interpretation.

Here are three tips when communicating to outside audiences:

Learn exactly what the term means. If you can truly understand the meaning of a term, perhaps you will be better able to “translate” it for a wider audience.

Simplify. Make it easier to understand by shortening your words and your sentences.

Avoid acronyms. Insiders love to use acronyms, and nowhere is that more evident than in Washington, where we love to talk about places like DoD or DoJ (Department of Defense and Department of Justice). Unless the acronym is so well known that we don't capitalize it anymore (e.g., Nasdaq), then write it out on your first mention and avoid if possible.


Communications tip: Use plain language

So much writing is unnecessarily complex and long-winded. Luckily, there’s a solution: adopt plain language standards. Some Center for Plain Language suggestions to make your writing clearer:
• Use short sentences
• Use words your audience knows
• Use active voice
• Be conversational
You can download a helpful five-step checklist from the Center for Plain Language to use as a starting point.


Let's work together!

Deborah Brody Marketing Communications services:

Writing and copy editing of marketing/communications materials
Communications and social media consulting
Communications and social media audits
Customized blog training and workshops


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