My plea today: can we please stop writing off concepts and practices and beautiful opportunities for growing and changing simply because we’ve decided a word is overused?
“I cringe at the word purpose.”
“I hate when people use the word vulnerable, ugh.”
“I don’t even want to say engagement because it’s so overused.”
Chances are good you don’t hate the word, you hate the fact that it’s been overused as a marketing ploy or tool. I get it, I do… but so many people talk around important conversations and experiences because a word bothers them.
Yes, we’re all talking about purpose and passion and vulnerability and authenticity and engaging on a deeper level. We’re talking about it because it matters. Because it’s important. Will there be someone out there who’s using the word as a ploy to get you to read a thing that isn’t even related, sure. There are many someones doing that very thing right now, it’s just something that happens.
The fastest way to become so “high level” in the work you do that you no longer connect with your audience is to become a semantics snob.
It’s easy to forget that a word and concept as simple and beautiful as vulnerability can be life changing for someone who’s been so lost behind a facade they’ve created that they don’t know who they are anymore.
It’s easy to forget that a word like engagement is a life line to the budding entrepreneurs of the world who want nothing more than to connect with and serve very specific individuals with very specific problems.
It’s easy to forget that a word like purpose can mean the difference between life and death, and finding meaning and joy in a life that’s otherwise bleak. A life that’s dark and dim and lacks any reason for continuing.
Yes, take the time to express these concepts and ideas in a way that feels really aligned for you and your work, but don’t become a snob. Don’t act like because you were writing about vulnerability before it became “mainstream” that it’s just too cliche and overused to continue. Don’t forget that you exist in a world of other entrepreneurs and marketers who say all these things regularly, but that your audience likely doesn’t… they probably still need to hear those words for the first time, and they need to understand the importance of the concept behind them.
Your audience needs you to meet them where they’re at, not talk over them.
We like to get creative with our words, using different terms for our website navigation and our concepts, because they feel so overused to us. We don’t want to put “blog” on our menu, because that’s so boring and everyone has it… but will your audience really know that “showroom” is your portfolio, or that “love letters” is the contact page and not the blog or testimonials?
Don’t overuse industry terms and clever words on your site, content, or when you’re teaching and coaching. Meet your clients where they’re at. If they’ve already been in your sphere for some time, it might be okay to take a more creative, higher level, or industry termed approach. If not, remember what it was like the first time you learned about these seemingly “basic” concepts, and how powerful that experience likely was for you.
Meet them where they’re at, even if all your colleagues huff at the fact that you’re not more “clever” with your words. Remember that this is about serving the people who need you, not impressing the ones doing similar work.