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It's Your Language. Teach Others to Speak It.
Published by Bill White , June 19th, 2014
 
You remember the “flux capacitor” from the Michael J. Fox movie “Back to the Future.” This device ran on orange peels and egg shells, and was the key to propelling Marty McFly and the Professor through time. The flux capacitor is a good example of lexicon – words, phrases, talking points – that every company develops when technology emerges from R&D. It’s the language you speak, the abbreviations and acronyms that form a shorthand among you and your team.
 
Don’t expect everyone to understand it. For most, especially those in your sales channel and your customers, it’s a foreign language. For new employees, it’s a barrier to understanding, a thicket to navigate that begs for context and some hands-on training.
 
The words and phrases you use to advance the benefits of your products and services, your “flux capacitor,” demand attention early and often. At OffWhite, we urge our clients to formalize this lexicon, beginning with a simple glossary and expanding to a management-approved manual, or at least an online reference, that leads us through the business like an old-fashioned vocabulary lesson.
 
Doing so benefits your company in three ways:
 
1) Productivity
The concept of healthcare, life science and technology services and products is difficult enough to explain on its own. The production, distribution, sale and maintenance of your products, however, becomes the real obstacle if everyone in your company isn’t using the same vocabulary to describe your products and the processes that surround them.
 
Variations in speech might seem minor on the surface, but the reality is they decrease your business’ productivity. Time after time, these variations cause confusion amongst employees across and within departments in your company. They call for explanation and corrective action, wasting valuable time and resources. Having a formalized lexicon streamlines your company’s communication. This, in turn, reduces confusion and increases productivity.
 
2) Credibility
Consistent language across a company’s print, digital and spoken communication establishes and maintains credibility. Like professional attire, a standardized company language signals to your audience that you care about the details and are an authority on the subject. Like uniforms, this consistency allows your audience to recognize, and your employees to identify with, your message even though it comes from various communication channels and individuals.
 
3) Search Rankings
Before making decisions about your company lexicon, you should consider your customers. How do they refer to your products and services? These words form the basis of their online queries. The more your digital content aligns with these keywords, the higher your company appears in search rankings, and is more likely to be found by your consumers.
 
Language is essential to communication. Communication makes or breaks your business. This is why it's crucial to reflect on and maintain your company’s language.
 
Is your company lexicon acting as more of a barrier than a bridge? Contact us today and we’ll help you establish your language and streamline your communication.
 
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Offenberger & White, Inc. (OffWhite) is an integrated marketing solutions company based in Marietta, Ohio, USA.
 
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