Why Simple Language Makes You Sound Smarter
(Because no one likes a wanker)
Recently I stumbled across a hilariously-titled study by a guy at Princeton University that, in a nutshell, says that the simpler you write, the smarter your readers will think you are.
“Consequences of Erudite Vernacular Utilized Irrespective of Necessity: Problems with Using Long Words Needlessly” carried out a range of experiments that all pointed to what we can all probably guess: unnecessarily complicated language is more likely to turn readers off than draw them in. While the English language is filled with beautiful words like ‘ailurophile’, ‘gambol’ and ‘moist’ (jokes) that are just aching to be used in everyday chat, unless you’re communicating with logophile Susie Dent your readers probably won’t be interested. Here’s why.
Be genuine with your language
Overly-complicated language makes you sound a bit, erm, wanky (for want of a better word). If the point of your writing is to connect with your audience, it’s important that you meet them where they’re at and not sound like you’ve got something to prove. Yes, if where they’re at is on the outer edge of discovering the next final frontier, fancy words and complicated sentence structure might be appropriate. But if your audience is an average Joe like you and me, it’s important to keep your language simple.
20-second elevator pitch
If you can’t explain what your business does in under 60 seconds, it’s time to think about the language you’re using. The classic elevator pitch pushes people to articulate what they do in the time it would take for them to get in and out of an elevator. Make your message quicker, punchier and easier to understand by substituting long, complicated words with shorter, easier to understand equivalents.
Keep it simple, stupid
Simple, easy to read content isn’t just easier to read, it’s easier to write in the first place. Think about how you speak – and write like that. Just because you’re putting pen to paper (or finger to keyboard), doesn’t mean you have to treat your article like it’s a Master’s thesis. Think about who you’re trying to connect with and write something they’ll respond to. Not only will you get more hits on your content, it’ll be much easier for you to write it in the first place.
Teaching old dogs new tricks
If your relationship with writing is more like that of an old-school science professor and a student who’s hunting for an A+, you might struggle to simplify the language you use in your content writing. But if you’re committed to simplifying your language so average people can understand what you do and what your business is about, have a think about getting a freelance copywriter on the job. Not only is a freelance copywriter available for work whenever you have it, giving you more flexibility around hiring, they also have a more objective stance on your business and product or service simply because they’re not ‘in it’ as much as you are, so they can write from a more independent perspective.
If you’re keen to see what a freelance copywriter could do for your business communication, give the Lingo team a bell today – we’d love to chat.