Speak Their Language-Not Spam

Like all of you, I absolutely despise Spam email. those emails blasted by the millions each day to us offering everything from companionship to the billion dollar estate of a long lost uncle who lives in Nigeria. Through Spam stoppers on my email server and setting rules for my incoming email, I've reduced it to a manageable level, but it still drives me nuts to have to delete them every day.

One benefit of these pesky distractions to me, however, is that they serve as a constant reminder of the need to use language that is most likely to connect with the recipient and cause them to act. Some that seem to have really worked for the spammers (based on the replication by other spammers) right now include subject lines that include:

  • Trending now on Facebook
  • Obama announces something incredible
  • Anything dealing with Dr. Oz
  • Failure of an application

While the communication we send orally or in writing is not Spam (hopefully), it can be viewed with the same lack of importance if it doesn't address someone in a way that is meaningful or connect to a need they currently have. Before you make the phone call, send the email, or even engage in a face to face conversation, stop and ask yourself questions like these:

  • What are the key interests of this person?
  • How does my idea, concern, suggestion, or solution connect with what is important to them?
  • What are words, phrases, or concepts typically used by this person that I should use to make it easier for them to grasp what I am saying?
  • What is going on in their work or personal life that I should be sensitive to as I communicate with them?

Failure to ask questions like these may have your intended recipient doing the same thing we do with Spam emails...delete, delete, delete.