I hope you find my writing and business tips and observations useful. My business and blog are dedicated to helping businesses communicate clearly and reach their potential. Read, subscribe to my newsletter, enjoy!Tash

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Poor communications a laughing matter?

Last night, I went to the launch of the Whitehorse Business Week at Headland and was entertained by guest speaker Russell Gilbert.

Although I have seen Russell many times on TV shows and the like, I hadn’t seen a full routine from him before. I really enjoyed it – he was funny and had us all laughing, but also showed he can do magic and sing.

Two of his jokes in particular were based on communications so I thought I’d share them today.

Multiple meanings

wet floor warning signHave you seen one of those yellow signs warning of ‘wet floor’?

Russell apparently cannot see one of those signs without looking for a bucket of water (ok, I’m using a more appropriate source of liquid!) so he can wet the floor.

In this case, the signs are not incorrect but Russell spotted that ‘wet’ can be an adjective (as intended on these signs) or a verb (as the instruction Russell assumed).

For any important message, it is worth checking for alternative versions of a word to be sure you aren’t saying something you really don’t want to say!

Clarity through order

bottle of cleaning liquidRussell also spoke about cleaning products, which may not seem very funny!

Many cleaning products include the sentence ‘cleans and kills germs’ but Russell asked why would you bother cleaning the germs before killing them?

Do the germs say ‘I’m dying but I’ve never looked so clean, it’s great!’?

Ok, we all know they mean ‘cleans a surface and kills germs on that surface’. And it’s good they’ve gone for a shorter version to give their message clarity.

They could make their message much clearer simply by changing the order of that sentence – ‘kills germs and cleans’ is much clearer and doesn’t give comedians an opportunity to pick on it :).

However, kill germs and cleans sounds wrong because we are so used to the other order – would you think that’s a negative or a positive for changing the order if you were producing a new cleaning label?

Do marketers want the emphasis on cleaning or killing germs? Would that be a factor in which order those words are placed?

Would your label aim for clarity or marketing emphasis or customer familiarity?


* images courtesy of 123rf and Tash Hughes 

Ranking for childcare?

You have to laugh really – I mean, how can I take people seriously when they send spam that is so off target?

Let me share the laugh with you!

I received an email from someone who tried to be my friend and show how good he is at internet marketing – mind you, he isn’t good enough to find my name on my website and use it in an email! He does point out that he has my contact details, including phone number, from my site though.

This email was about word constructions – a professional writing service in Australia and his email includes the following (in blue – the black text is my response!):

I see that you’re not ranked on the first page of Google for a childcare centre search. And this is a problem for me why? 

I’m not sure if you’re aware of why you’re ranked this low but more importantly how easily correctable this is. I’m guessing it’s because I don’t have a childcare centre or use that keyword? If he found me through that keyword, it says a lot for my childcare articles though!

There’s no reason you can’t have a top three ranking for the keyword childcare centre based on your site structure and content. You have a very nice site. Perhaps the fact I don’t have a childcare centre (or a website about childcare) is a good reason not to rank top three? And if you don’t know that, I have no reason whatsoever to believe you have looked at my site to know it’s good!

I didn’t send this email out to very many people (oh please!) but I am currently reaching out to a list of your ‘keyword competitors’ (If their keyword is ‘childcare centre’, they aren’t my competitors at all) as well. But I do favor your website because I can see your website monetizing the targeted website traffic the keyword childcare centre can deliver. If you truly believe my site is best placed to maximise this keyword, you REALLY have no idea about relevant content and keywords – and I REALLY don’t want to make use of your ‘help’ and ‘skill’.
He followed this up with four requests to call me, and one to call him. Sure, Jason, call me so I can tell you how little you really know, at your long distant phone cost!
Hopefully that gave you a laugh, too.
If you want a serious message from this, here are some real marketing tips:
  •  be relevant – don’t contact a business about something they don’t offer
  • be honest – adding blatant lies makes it likely you’ll be caught out and lose whatever credibility you may have had
  • if you claim to have viewed my site, then have the courtesy to find and use my name
  •  don’t overstate your importance – if Jason is so successful and owns the 1,000s of sites he claims, why does he need to spam people around the world to get further business? Again, it just destroys your credibility if your claims and behaviours don’t match

Here’s to lots of laughs and very little spam in our lives!