Simple Words for Simple Needs Not too long ago, Gov.uk garnered a lot of praise for their online efforts. Rightly so. And here?s another area where they are a shining example to the rest of us. Their use of language. Back in 2013, they issued a style guide that banned all of the laughable terms and phrases politicians so often use. There was to be no more generalizing, no more begging the question, and most of all no more confusion. At least, that?s the idea. Style Guide The style guide provides a list of terms and phrases which are now off limits. The aim is to make statements clearer so that information can be conveyed more effectively. Which is my own verbose way of saying, they?re meant to talk like people - not politicians. Banned jargon includes: Slimming down (except for dieting) Foster (except for children) Agenda (meetings only) Pledge/Commit (either do it or don?t) Deliver (only for pizza and mail) Deploy (military) Dialogue (for screenplays and prose) Key (only for locks) Progress (as a verb is meaningless) Promote (marketing or rank) Strengthening (structures only) Tackling (sports term only) Transforming (replace with specific actions) Going Forward (politicians code for, we?ll get around to it) Workplace Politics No, I haven?t just changed the subject to why Joseph got the promotion instead of you when he just happens to be friends with your manager?s son. Maybe another time. Right now, I?m still focused on words. It occurs to me that many of us still use phrases a lot like these. I?ve used one or two in the past myself. ?Key? in particular, and ?deliver?, usually about results or value. While there?s nothing wrong with it, per se, language is much clearer if we just use the words we would in daily conversation. After all, that?s what customers are looking for. They want information in terms they can understand. They want to know what you can currently offer, not what?s on your agenda. They want to see your current results, not ideas for ?going forward?. Bamboozling clients doesn?t work - unless you work in the stock market. For everyone else, there is no better strategy than transparency. Show your results, share your plan for the future, even reveal your failures if you think you have learned from it. This kind of openness builds trust, and allowing customers to know what is going on inside your business helps them feel like part of it. That, in turn, results in customer loyalty. We know when someone is avoiding the question or changing the subject. When someone is hiding behind biased statistics or inflated reviews. It?s obvious. And we don?t like it. It feels like a betrayal of trust, an attempt to swindle us? it feels like politics. That's entirely the wrong impression to give. It's time to think about our customers, and what they want and what they'll react to. Clear concise content is the order of the day. But admittedly it?s harder than it looks!