Guaranteed sleep remedies

Some words and phrases are used so much in marketing, advertising and public relations that they have lost their original power.
New is an obvious one, but enhanced, improved and innovative have also become almost meaningless. How often do official enquiries conclude that “lessons have been learnt”, only for organisations to make the same mistakes again?
Often our response can be to turn off, stop listening and, if we’re trapped in a conference or presentation, even nod off to sleep.
This creates a challenge when marketing products and services, especially when you do have a genuinely new or improved product and your audience has become immune to hyperbole.
What can you do? One answer is to aim for a balance of fresh, upbeat messages that reflect your products realistically. Use language itself to create a lively atmosphere by developing an active voice (eg saying you do something rather than that it was done to you), by cutting out unnecessary words and avoiding clichés.
While it’s harder work than using safe but tired words and phrases, the extra effort can produce messages that really are exciting, grab the attention of customers and persuade them to buy. When they’re enjoying themselves people can be readier to listen your message and take it in. They’ll certainly be more responsive than if they were asleep.

Some words and phrases are used so much in marketing, advertising and public relations that they have lost their original power.

New is an obvious one, but enhanced, improved and innovative have also become almost meaningless. How often do official enquiries conclude that “lessons have been learnt”, only for organisations to make the same mistakes again?

When we feel we’ve heard it all before, our response can be to turn off, stop listening and, if we’re trapped in a conference or presentation, even nod off to sleep.

This creates a challenge when marketing products and services, especially when you do have a genuinely new or improved product and your audience has become immune to hyperbole.

What can you do? One answer is to aim for a balance of fresh, upbeat messages that reflect your products realistically. Use language itself to create a lively atmosphere by developing an active voice (eg saying you do something rather than that it was done to you), by cutting out unnecessary words and avoiding clichés.

While it’s harder work than using safe but tired words and phrases, the extra effort can produce messages that really are exciting, grab the attention of customers and persuade them to buy. When they’re enjoying themselves, people can be readier to pay attention to your message and take it in.

They’ll certainly be more responsive than if they were asleep.

 

Action can make writing more interesting

When proofreading a number of large corporate documents recently, I realised how dull the writing can be. Just because someone is a specialist in a subject, it doesn’t always follow that they are good at communicating enthusiasm about this to other people.

One of the main problems is when the writing style is ‘passive’; by this I mean the practice of saying “something was done” rather than “something happened”. The opposite style is ‘active’, e.g. “I run”, “they started”. This style is far more energetic and gives vitality to writing.

It is remarkable what a difference this can make to a document, especially if it is a long one. Look out for this next time you read a long corporate report, especially if you find your eyes drooping in boredom. Also, bear it in mind when you write such documents – your readers will thank you and your writing will probably be more effective.

Robert Zarywacz

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