Communication Strategies

Once You Become an Entrepreneur, It's Time to Quit With the 'Corporate-Speak'

The benignly impersonal jargon that passes for communication in big corporations doesn't work for making one-to-one human connections.
Once You Become an Entrepreneur, It's Time to Quit With the 'Corporate-Speak'
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Guest Writer
Writer, author, consultant.
5 min read
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A lot of people enter the world of entrepreneurship after languishing for years in unsatisfying jobs or careers. They have listened and heard managers and corporate officers fill their brains with impersonal emails, newsletters and not one single eye-to-eye “thank you” at all.

Imagine sitting at your desk, going into a meeting after a very successful quarter, and all you hear is a sort-of “that’s good but we have to do better” comment. Check your smartphone and see an email from your boss about an upcoming meeting, open it and the first sentence is “Dear colleagues.” That type of corporate-speak may work in the hallowed halls of multibillion-dollar businesses filled with corner offices and gilded ceiling lamps. It will not, though, attract a lot of people to your business as an entrepreneur.

Take that type of language and put it into your new venture. After setting up a solid foundation and sending out emails and content galore, you see that all of it isn’t attracting people to your own message.

It doesn’t work. People want to have a personal connection with you. Spending too much time using “corporate-speak” language to get inside businesses can leave you on the outside.

Think of a number of entrepreneurs you look up to and help keep your dreams alive. Some people are attracted to Daymond John, Lisa Nichols, Gary Vaynerchuk, Barbara Corcoran and Tony Robbins, among others. Do these people write corporate-style “Hello all” emails to your inbox? No. There is a more personal touch and style that fits their brand and does not have one whiff of corporate-speak in it.

Related: Why Jargon Is Bad for Your Business -- and How To Eliminate It

Here are three specific reasons for you to give corporate-speak language the heave-ho from your business:

You need to be less impersonal.

While the “keep-your-distance” model of writing and speaking might work in the corporate world, it’s a whole new ballgame as an entrepreneur. You want people who look at your business and feel some type of emotional connection. Simply being stoic and unenthusiastic about what you are doing will send people running away. Learn to speak and write in ways that have your unique personal touch and allow customers to embrace your style. The more you are able to do this, the more people will tell others about you and look you up because of your personality.

You need to be more interesting.

People enjoy stories. Every entrepreneur has a story about how they started in business, what led them to do it and how failures and successes shaped where they are right now. Being right all the time doesn’t make anyone interesting at all. You have been through a lot in life. Writing and speaking with your unique emotion and passion leaves people either wanting or not wanting more of what you offer. That’s a good thing, because your customers will reach out and give you continual feedback. Living an adventurous life, much like Sir Richard Branson, can be as attractive as the way you write and speak about what you do. Let your language be filled with emotions and feelings that are yours, not borrowed from someone else. Remember that as an entrepreneur, you are not only selling your business or service but also yourself to people.

Related: 7 Steps to Take When Preparing a Corporate Apology

You need to be more relatable.

Those ancient words of “know thyself” have never been truer than when it comes to being relatable around people. If you are looking to have the everyday hardworking man and woman as a customer yet speak in words that go above their heads, then you’re not relatable to them. Introverts and extroverts alike are successful entrepreneurs and they’ve had to learn how to be relatable in different ways. If you talk news, weather and sports all the time and nothing else, then people may not relate to your business (unless that’s your business model). All people understand the language of success and failure. Everyone has experienced it in some way in their personal lives. Being able to write and speak in ways that allow you to be more relatable to people in your niche is going to help you a lot more. If you have worked in the corporate world, then you already know how corporate-speak language has made you feel. Do you want to give off those vibes as an entrepreneur? If not, then become more relatable and watch your business grow.

Having worked in a lot of corporate-style settings throughout my career has given me multiple examples of how not to treat, speak or write to people.

Being a decent and thoughtful human being when using your language in written and verbal ways will make you stand out from the crowd.

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