Posted on

Explain it to me like I’m five: Choosing the right words for your audience

Share This Post

Much like a nurse who hates blood or a divorced marriage counselor, we communication mavens at Red Shoes PR can admit to occasionally being remiss in our own communication best practices. An example of this came to light when a member of our team was talking to a potential client in the medical field.

A few minutes into a description of the blog posts, media relations and other RSPR-standard offerings, the potential client told this team member to stop, and asked if she knew what a series of medical terms meant. The team member admitted that she didn’t, and the potential client responded that she had no idea what the team member was saying either.

Whenever you’re speaking to someone from a world outside your own, remember that the English language is made up of dozens, maybe hundreds, of different subsets. Different generations, industries, geographies—the world is an interconnected melting pot but sometimes our differences create communication barriers that we don’t see when inundated in our everyday vocabularies.

Every once in a while, take a communication audit of your company’s communications and your own speech. Do you see a lot of industry jargon or millennial slang? Do you use shorthand that muddles the meaning of your message or take for granted that others know the meaning of words that are common to you? Step outside yourself to hear how your words come across to others.

We sometimes tell clients to “explain it me like I’m five” to get them in the mindset of breaking down their jobs when talking about them to reporters. This isn’t meant to be condescending, but as a reminder to not take other people’s knowledge for granted.

Share This Post

Subscribe to the Red Shoes PR Blog