We’re human. And we work in business.
But for some crazy reason, when we enter a board-room, a client meeting, or some other suit-and-tie affair, we feel like we have to start speaking a strange new language.
Imagine a web marketing consultant reviewed your website, came to you and said:
“The convergence of customer loyalty and new visitor conversion demonstrates the immediate need to increase lead generation capabilities on the landing page.”
What are you trying to say?
Just say it like a human.
“You already have a great following of loyal customers and people must like what you’re saying because they’re subscribing. I think you should try tweaking your subscribe form to get even more people to subscribe.”
The fact of the matter is, freelancers and entrepreneurs who make the extra effort to be human in their interactions will outshine their competition any day. At least with the customers that count.
Keep reading and I’ll share with you (1)Why human business-people rise above the competition and (2)how to sound more human and less douche-like.
Why humans rise above the competition
1. Clients can relate to you more personally.
If you’re a small shop or even a one-person operation, the ability to relate to your client is vital. A wise person once explained to me that success in business is about 50% talent, skill, and ability to get the job done right and 50% popularity.
It sounds bad, but think about the people you work with. Think about the people who climb whatever ladder they’ve devoted their lives to. The climb because people like them. People help them. People want them around.
If a client can relate to you more personally, they’re more likely to keep you around which is great news for your business.
2. You don’t seem stuffy, untouchable or hoity-toity.
Have you ever talked to someone that is just so full of themselves they almost sound like they’re in a competition to use the biggest word in the conversation every time they open their mouth?
They’re so far off in their own self-consumed world, they’re untouchable.
No one wants to jump on a spaceship and fly out to planet you where all the things you say make you look good (in your eyes).
People want you here on earth. Speaking human language. Relating to them.
3. Your advice is more actionable and produces better results.
Speaking of rockets, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that, in order to keep your clients around for a long time, you have you produce real results.
You’re only as valuable as the positive impact you make on your clients’ business. (tweetable)
And the easier it is for your client to act on the advice you give them (think “let’s add a subscribe box” instead of “let’s boost lead generation and capture rates”), the more likely they are to see success.
4. You don’t sound like a douche.
Last, but definitely not least, talking like a human saves you from being a douche.
When you speak a language that your client can’t understand, they may assume you’re trying to swindle them. If it seems like all you care about is money, business, ROI, and all the jazz, you’ll never come across as genuine.
Instead talk like a human would about your clients’ business.
Care about their mission. Care about their goals. And talk about how your design, copywriting, etc. will help them be the company they want to be.
How to sound more human and less douche-like
By now, I hope it’s obvious why you need to start talking like a human being instead of some business robot.
But what’s the best way to tackle it?
Here are a few ideas. Add yours in the comments.
1. Type, Skype, or text like you talk.
Don’t use words in your email or text message that you wouldn’t use in real life.
One time I had a coworker read an email message to me after which I made fun of their word choice.
His response to me? “That was your email.”
Oops. I was so different when typing I didn’t even recognize my own voice when someone read it back to me.
2. Don’t use big words just for the sake of big words.
You can pack a real punch with your words when you keep them small.
The use of big words won’t make you sound smart if you don’t use them in your day-to-day speech. And if you don’t sound smart, you sound like a fool.
Have you been in a board room where they start to use words you don’t hear when you’re not in the board room? That’s not real language.
Did you note, too, that each word in this point was no more than one syllable? (Except for “syllable”, of course.)
3. Stop trying to be so formal.
Are there moments when you need to be a little more professional than others?
But don’t try to be so formal all the time. Once your client is working with you, let down your guard a little and show them you can be human. They’ll end up trusting you and feeling like they can open up to you about their business’ worries and needs.
4. Make your conversations about more than strictly business
One last tip is to make your speech reflect real human concerns. Don’t just about business; take a minute to ask about your client’s family, hobbies, etc. This will allow you to connect on a more human level and will lead to even more human conversations in the future.
What do you think?
In the past, I might have said “Let’s toss the mic to you” or “Over to you” or something.
The truth is, I would never say that in real life.
So I’m not going to say it today.
But what do you think? Am I completely crazy or could we all use a little extra dose of human conversation when we’re talking about business?