I just read an article for my Crisis Communications class that summed up for me not only today’s style of organizational communications, but describes the essence of social media. Written in 1963, decades before the internet and social media was around to change the world, M.H. Nichols talks about “encouraging enlightened choice.” She discusses how we as communicators have an obligation to portray the best facts, reasoning and evaluations so that people can make enlightened choices. R.L. Heath et al. add that while communicating your product/service you should not be biased and use ultra positive language/jargon OR its opposite—the negative, too much.
Fast forward to today. What can you say about your products/services and in what way can you say it that will enable your prospects to make choices that are the best ones for their business strategy? Heath says you shouldn’t ignore anything about your offering when discussing it––be it positive attributes or even the negative ones. A good practice is to use a 360 degree view of an offering so that your presentation is not distorted too much one way or the other and disables the true meaning of choice. You’ve just defined the essence of social media.
In the online communities, the playing field enables only the high road of choices. Whatever we don’t say, someone is going to say for us. So we have to be real. We also have to be giving, goodhearted and generous in our sharing of information with our colleagues, partners and customers. And if you choose not to converse in this manner, you can be sure someone is going to do it for you. A great book that talks about this is “The Thank You Economy,” and here’s 5 Reasons Why You Should Stop Thanking People which also makes sense to me.
I’m going to try harder to be enlightened in my choice of language and (almost) never, ever use jargon. I’ll leave you with a hilarious Business Jargon Generator that you’ll have some fun with, and here’s one that generates B.S. specifically for the web economy.
Have an enlightened evening!
M.H. Nichols, 1963. Rhetoric and criticism.
R.L. Heath, E. L. Toth, D. Waymer, 1992. Rhetorical and Critical Approaches to Public Relations II.