Disruptive events leave their marks on societies. They change cultural dynamics, evoke reform, spark innovation, break down barriers and create others. They affect families and relationships. The once righteously independent learn to lean on others and the painfully codependent become more liberated. Some turn toward faith and religion, others turn away.

One likely result of the COVID-19 pandemic on a society that had become increasingly divisive and contentious – at times egregious – will be one that emerges with a renewed sense of reconciliation. History has shown that following humanity humbling events such as pandemics, wars, famines, and depressions the aftermath brings people together. They seek connection through camaraderie, commitment to shared goals, and compassion for shared experiences.

The novel coronavirus may not leave a mark on the skin like the varicella-zoster virus (chickenpox), but it will leave a mark just the same. Customers, clients, leads, employees, and recruits will not only want connection, but they will also need it. In the coming months as society begins its rebound you will have a unique opportunity. The use of approachable language in your marketing and sales collateral, and in your messaging, will resonate in ways that not everyone will recognize, but they will most assuredly perceive.

In our efforts to be fast, pithy, sleek, and shrewd – and to appeal to shorter attention spans – we dropped the pronouns. Rather than stating, ‘We deliver your packages on time’, we started saying, ‘Delivering on time’. Instead of, ‘We fly you to all the places you want to go, we say, ‘Flying to more places’. In my town, there is a large sign that claims, ‘Improving lives with innovations’. That message doesn’t convey anything. It’s a sign for a behavioral health facility yet completely void of the human connection.

We’ve voided humanity in our messaging yet somehow expect humans to relate.

When our Forefathers penned the Preamble to the Constitution, they wrote, ‘We the people, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice….’ Today, we would likely revise that to, ‘Forming union + establishing justice…’.

At some point, someone decided that those pesky pronouns were weighing us down and we moved away from using approachable language. It worked then but in the near future, it won’t. By adapting your approach to your ‘new’ audience, you’ll hear comments such as: “I can’t put my finger on it but something about your presentation made sense.” Approachable language is subtle, especially when written well. Society will soon begin to respond to approachable more so than slick and sleek.

The coronavirus will leave its mark on society and by adopting approachable language your messaging will resonate.

To We, or not to We? You decide.

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