Why businesses should use plain English

3 min read

Why businesses should use plain English

The research is in: people who speak plain English are considered smarter than those who use corporate gibberish.

Need proof?

Here’s a strategy statement by ConfusedBank*.

“‘One ConfusedBank’ is an integrated, customer-centric business model that enables customers to choose any of the Group’s products, services or brands, assisted by navigation and selection tools that deliver the best possible solutions to meet their needs.

“ConfusedBank’s strategy to leverage its strategic assets of Cost, Capital, Culture and Customer remains, however we have sharpened our focus on elevating the customer.”

Any idea what that means?

Now if ConfusedBank had asked Hunter & Scribe to write their strategy statement, we would’ve written:

“At ConfusedBank, you can mix and match out products and services to suit your needs.”

Our version is not only much simpler, it’s also smarter, because it’s comprehensible.

Make your content marketing easy to understand

The research mentioned earlier was outlined in Yes: 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to be Persuasive, a fascinating book written by Noah Goldstein, Steve Martin and Robert Cialdini.

Social scientists have found people have a greater affection for words and names that are easy to pronounce than those that are hard to pronounce.

But not everyone will find the same words easy to pronounce. For example, visitors to Australia often don’t know whether our famous beach’s name is pronounced Bond-ee or Bond-i.

That’s one of the many advantages of using Hunter & Scribe – there’s a native Australian at the helm who not only understands words, but also understands Australians.

Make your content marketing believable

Similarly, the persuasiveness of a handwritten message is influenced by the quality of the handwriting, just as the persuasiveness of a typed message is influenced by the readability of the font. The harder readers have to work to understand a message, the less likely they are to believe it.

At Hunter & Scribe, we work hard so our readers don’t have to. 

If we wrote a social media post for a mortgage broker, we would not tell their clients to leverage their property’s LVR to avoid paying LMI on another property – because clients wouldn’t understand that kind of jargon. Instead, we’d tell them they could use their home’s equity to fund a 20% deposit on an investment property to avoid paying lender’s mortgage insurance.

“The findings of all this research also have more general implications for how people choose to communicate with one another,” according to the book.

“Take, for example, the fact that communicators frequently try to convey their erudition via their grandiloquent, magniloquent, sesquipedalian verbosity; in other words, they try to look smart by using unnecessarily long words or overly technical jargon.”

Hunter & Scribe doesn’t employ those people. Instead, we employ writers who understand what they’re writing about. Whether they’re writing a blog on understanding a balance sheet, an ebook on the pros and cons of paying extra on your home loan or a social media post on understanding your risk profile – they can clearly explain complex ideas using plain English.

Unfortunately, people who use corporate gibberish actually produce the opposite effect. “Because the audience has difficulty interpreting the language, the message is deemed less convincing and the author is perceived to be less intelligent.”

So maybe it’s time you let Hunter & Scribe rewrite your content in plain English, so you don’t suffer the same fate as ConfusedBank. 

Sorry, ConfusedBank, we know you thought you had us at “integrated, customer-centric business model”, but that’s actually where you lost us.

* ConfusedBank is a fake name, but nothing else in this article is fake.

Want to impress your clients with your ability to explain difficult concepts in plain English? Ask Hunter & Scribe for help.

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