Opinion

It’s high time we buried the acronym

When did you last update your CMS with your B2B or B2C contacts? How much did you spend on your CPC or CPL? Are you getting a ROI on your PR, your SM, your SEO or your SaaS? Well, Emma Bannister wants it to stop.

SPAM, CAPEX, EBITDA, HTML, NASDAQ, SWOT, COB, FTE, IPO, B2B, CTR, the list of acronyms we use in the marketing world, let alone in business, is enough to fry our brains.

Our reports, conversations and presentations are full of jargon and trending words, rather than the important messages we’re trying to communicate. Ironically, the acronym, which was invented to save us time and be more efficient, is actually now having the opposite result.

Photo by Amador Loureiro on Unsplash

The Cost of Poor Communications outlines a survey conducted by the Independent Directors Council into 400 companies with 100,000 employees, which determines how much miscommunication costs companies every year. It was found that a whopping $62 million per year was wasted on misunderstandings or misinterpretations of information. And that’s just communication to and from employees.

As marketers, your core role is to communicate with clients, customers and stakeholders. To build buy-in and nurture leads. But how can you do this if the very same people you’re trying to connect with have no idea what you’re saying?

Potato, po-ta-to

Our organisations and our impact are more global than ever before thanks to technology. So with so many different cultures to engage, whether on your team or as potential clients, there is a real threat that your message will not come across loud and clear. When it comes to acronyms, what you deem to be one thing could mean something else entirely to someone else. For example:

AP = Asia-Pacific or accounts payable
ASP = application service provider or average selling price
CMO = contract marketing organisation or chief marketing officer
DM = direct message or data mining
PM = project manager, program manager or product manager
Collectively, poor communication can disrupt business on a fundamental level.

So how can we do better?

Be more human

First, we have to get back to basics and remember that we are humans communicating with other humans. Of course, it’s easy to forget this when you’ve got your head down, churning through the latest newsletter, but we really cannot afford to hide behind acronyms, corporate jargon, blanket statements or even our screens.

What the world needs today, what your employees, team members, customers and stakeholders are actually in need of is H2H – from human to human, a natural connection through compelling visuals and emotional stories, not four-letter words.

When you share your vision and goals through real language and compelling slides that take your audience on the journey with you, then you reduce fear and instil confidence in everyone involved.

That’s when they will connect to a future they want to be a part of, not one they are unsure of.

Emma Bannister is the CEO of Presentation Studio and author of the book Visual Thinking: How to transform the way you think, communicate and influence with presentations.

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