Now don’t get me wrong, I completely understand the need to sound professional and educate people who try to dismiss the service you are offering as a mere “skill”. That happens often and it can be quite annoying. We designers bear the brunt of this a lot, when people try to “cheapen” what we do with the usual “so in short you’re a tailor”. Initially I used to think it was necessary to enlighten them on what exactly I do but now I just reserve my energy for those who have a genuine interest in what I do. I realized that those who knowingly made those comments either thought they were being funny or felt their jobs were much better than mine. Better to leave them in their world of ignorance.
I often wonder why companies around here find it difficult to tell us what they do in one or two sentences without making us go through the trouble of reading through an epistle. I’m sure if you ask the guys in the cartoon up there what they do, they’ll just use one word or max a sentence. But ask someone around here what they do and they come at you with a barrage of words that leaves you completely confused when they are done.
Case in point No 1.
I was searching for a company which provided a specific product I needed and this company pops up. After almost burning all my data trying to upload the company’s page and reading all the grammar, I was left wondering if they actually offered what I needed. They had to right?! Otherwise their names would not have come up.
Case in point No 2! A mail I received from a company marketing some service I cannot even remember any more. After reading through an overly constructed mail which I almost had to use a dictionary to decode, I realized when I was done that the company had said a lot without saying anything at all!
And then I recalled Case No 3, a conversation I had with an old colleague about what he does for a living now. When he was done, I literally asked him again “so what exactly do you do?”
These 3 cases made me realize that perhaps this is the way we do things around here. In fact, with the first 2 cases above (and I really wish I could copy and paste both cases), it almost seemed like the companies were trying to “defend” what they were doing. Almost like if they didn’t say so much, we would think what they were doing was no big deal. But truth is, every product or service offering is a big deal! No need to defend it with so much grammar.
As Albert Einstein once said…
“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t know it well enough”!
I remember someone once tried to convince me to be proud of my skill, that there was nothing wrong with being a “tailor”. Throughout the (what she thought was sound) advice, I had this look of “with all due respect, please stop manifesting your ignorance in full view of the public”. 1. If you knew who a tailor was, you probably wouldn’t speak and 2. If you knew what I used to do, you would know this was a calculated decision and keep quiet.
But before I digress, yes I do understand the reason for the professionalism in marketing e-mails. But I also believe many of us get lost in the “English” to realize that we actually have to sell a product or service at the end of it all. Yes I used to be guilty of such mails. BUT I take solace in the fact that, at least, at the end of it all, the mails contained the “specifics” of what I was trying to pass across. THAT was where the 2 companies above missed the mark.
What I would say is…
1. If you can tell us what you do in 1 paragraph, that would be great.
2. If you need more than 1 paragraph to explain what you do, please go ahead but please ensure at the end of the day, we understand what exactly you offer in clear terms.
3. If you cannot help yourself, please highlight the important points in your mail so those of us who need the required information asap can simply glance through your message and pick out what we need from it.
And that is my tip for today. Enjoy the rest of your day! 😀