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Reviewing my newsletter from July 2010, I was reminded of the importance of getting your terminology right when writing – thanks to an example of poor writing from someone who considers herself to be a guru.
Clarity vs confusion
As a business, you have a message to get across to people which hopefully will lead to some action which helps your business.
A clear message will be more effective at engaging and inspiring action than a confusing message.
If someone doesn’t understand the message, they will give up and probably think little of your business. If someone misunderstands your message, you will waste time fixing misconceptions and possibly having to pay the price to rectify things.
Knowing the right terminology
Other than through dumb luck, it is next to impossible to give a clear message if you use terms you don’t understand yourself.
Instructions and manuals, vs directories and lists
The poor example in my newsletter mixed directory and manual. I go to a directory to get details (such as a phone number of address) and a manual for instructions or procedures. The words are not interchangeable.Getting words right is important to communicating your business message. This is the basis of my Monday Meanings – to help people understand words (although it would never occur to me to define manual and directory to avoid them being confused!)
So how do you react when someone confuses a message through poor word usage?
Are you willing to spend time trying to figure out what a confusing message actually means, or do you give up and go elsewhere?