Away with Words

By Haven Lindsey  in  Manna from Haven  on  05.21.2020

About a year ago, I was hiking and rock climbing with a friend who is paid to guide hikers through remote areas and challenging terrain. As we climbed together he shared stories and was particularly animated as he expressed his annoyance with someone he had recently guided, who, throughout the course of the trip, commented on the vista view. He said it drove him crazy because vista and view mean essentially the same thing. As we searched for crevices for finger and toe holds, we laughed as he described what he heard repeatedly in his head as, view view.

We later stopped for lunch and emptied our packs and I asked what he had brought to eat. He replied, tuna fish. The fact that he was annoyed with vista view but unaware of what I heard as fish fish had me doubled-over in laughter. I opened my lunch and giggled and told him I brought chicken bird. We’re pretty sure it was our uninhibited laughter that startled those longhorn sheep.

Pleonasms can be fun to discuss, especially on seven-hour climbs through rugged terrain. They aren’t so impressive, however, when businesses and executives fall prey to their usage. Ever read that an organization is developing new systems or describes something as a valuable asset? Is it possible to develop an old system or have an asset that isn’t valuable? They’re trying to present as polished and professional, but it sounds like vista view.

As the centuries-old saying goes, it takes more time to write a shorter letter than a longer version, and it is important to understand that fact. Concise messaging is effective and effective messaging takes time.

Slow. Your. Roll.

Is your organization really giving free gifts at the upcoming conference that attendees have been asked to register and prepay in advance? Some pleonasms are accepted and in some ways, endearing – we’ve all laughed at PIN number and ATM machine, and eating a tuna fish sandwich is more common than a chicken bird sandwich. When your messaging is rife with brand new innovations and your salespeople talk about circling back around to follow up, it’s time to slow your roll.

Effective communication conveys authenticity.

Effective messaging is effective communication, and effective communication reaps success. When your messaging is effective, sales increase – that’s nothing new. But how do you write effectively?

Effective messaging authentically conveys confidence (not bravado) which results in building trust and elevating the respect that others have for you, your leadership and sales teams, and your organization. As simple as it sounds – authentic messaging actually comes from a simple place, but it’s not necessarily simple.

If you want respect, stop using redundant language.

Leave the pleonasms to the hikes and silly conversations – they don’t belong on your website, your collateral, or anywhere near your communications. Writing, speaking, and presenting with precision is harder than most people realize, yet it can be accomplished by slowing down and thinking about the words you’re using.

Toward the end of our rock-climbing adventure, I asked my friend if he would guide the woman again who referred to vista view; after all he gets paid well to do what he does and he enjoys his job. He paused for a moment and said, no, he wasn’t sure he trusted her abilities. She sent a message without realizing it and all too often, organizations do the same.

When you are more aware of the redundancies that are costing you, your messaging will have more clarity and everyone will have more confidence. Don’t let your organization become the vista view conversation.

Make it meaningful,

~ Haven