Last week, I got to help board members from three different organizations find their words. One of the biggest hiccups they faced was using jargon and/or acronyms. On the receiving end, these both sound like blah, blah, blah.
Staff bandy about some blah, blah, blah with the best of them. Don’t get me wrong. But since board members don’t talk about the organization as often as staff, they don’t have as many opportunities to shake the habit.
If your board members are struggling to de-jargonify their personal pitches, teach them this trick: as soon as they hear themselves use jargon or an acronym, have them pause and say, “Here’s what I mean by that…”
This allows them to keep some words and terms that are comfy to them (which is often important in order for them to let their passion shine through!) while making it understandable to those not as familiar with your mission and work.
Any other tips and tricks to help board members get over messaging hiccups?
Quick background: To celebrate their first 20 years of certification, Microsoft Learning decided they’d rather create a year-long campaign to create better careers and better lives for aspiring IT pros around the world than blow out 20 candles on a big ol’ cake. For the campaign, there are 20 different ways for established IT pros to pay it forward. The ways will be revealed throughout the year. Three are currently active.
Now for the handy tip: Here are the first three Calls to Action (CTAs). Note that each one follows the same pattern: Feature. Benefit.
The advantage of this approach is that you can inform and inspire. You can inform them of the action you want them to take while inspiring them by showing the difference their action will make.
No single approach works in every instance, but if your audience responds well to the inform/inspire approach, give this one a whirl.
Bonus: Saw this ad while out and about earlier this week. (I was stopped when I took the picture, for the record. ) Washington State Lottery used it on their current bus campaign: “When you play, students win.” Same approach: Feature, benefit. (The picture is lousy but you get the point!)