Savvy Speaks: Savvy "Dont's"

Savvy Speaks: Savvy "Dont's"
Savvy Sisters - Wed May 18, 2011 @ 12:40AM
Comments: 6

Every once in awhile one of the Savvy Sisters runs accross something that makes her say "huh?" Whether it's blatant self-aggrandizing, pure puffery or just plain bad writing, it really makes our eyes water. This week we share some of our biggest red flags - make sure you aren't guilty of one of these comunication faux pas:

 

Wendy Thomas

Wendy

Mixing up the message

When I first starting teaching tech writing people thought that because there were so many font choices available you should use them. What you ended up getting was information that was distracting and amatuerish. 

Same school of thought now goes for online material, just because you *can* use animation or music or polls or any of a hundred other "attention grabbing" gadgets doesn't mean that you should. 

Less is more and clean lines are always considered classic. 

Kate_HiRes_Twitter.jpg

 

 

Kate

What is it you do again?

I get very frustrated when I visit a website and I have to really dig to find out what a company even does. The FIRST thing a customer should see on your website is a statement of what you do and why you do it better than anybody else. "Providing elegant solutions that solve real-world business challenges and drive measurable ROI." Is not a sentence that belongs anywhere on your home page.

Stephanie

Stephanie

Tripping over jargon

As we've talked about before on the Savvy blog, it's a huge mistake to get wrapped up in your industry and product jargon. The problem with this approach is that:

1) Many of the terms are meaningless on their own

2) You end up sounding like every other solution provider out there using the same terms

3) Few people can understand what you do/offer.

To Kate's point, you should be able to describe what you do in simple language that anyone outside of your industry can understand.

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Michele

Thinking you are talking to a business instead of a person

Similar to what my other Savvy sisters have said, one of my biggest pet peeves is when a website or other content is written for a company, not for the actual people who can benefit from your product or solution.


One way I often think about this: would you want be bored reading what you write? If so, it's definietly time to make your writing more conversational. Keep thinigs simple, and avoid jargon at all costs!

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Jamie

Details, people, details.

I heartily agree with my Savvy Sisters on all points raised. My contribution to the cranky critics conversation is the importance of paying attention to the details. Whether it's making sure all your copy is properly proofread (please, we beg you), or putting a spit and polish on even lowly pages like error messages, these details matter. The best impression can be marred by the smallest thing - don't let the little things trip you up. 

 

What are some of your pet peeves?

Seen anything that made your eyes water recently?

Dish!

Comments: 6

Comments

1. Richard Bellikoff  |  my website   |   Wed May 18, 2011 @ 04:37PM

My pet peeve is web text in tiny fonts that require a magnifying glass for anyone who is no longer a 20- or 30-something to read. Unless that age group is your only audience, or you're writing legal disclaimers that you don't expect anybody to read anyway, use a clearly legible point size. You might even want to try it out on one of your company's execs who has older eyes -- obviously not a viable procedure if the exec in question is Mark Zuckerberg.

2. Tim Hiscock   |   Thu May 19, 2011 @ 02:24PM

A very informative article, but speaking of faux pas, can I suggest you make a particular effort to avoid including any spelling errors in your articles? Particularly in the first line! A simple spell check would have picked up that the word 'across' only has one C!

3. Kate Waddell  |  my website   |   Fri May 20, 2011 @ 09:37AM

Hi Tim, I'd like to say that was meant as a joke or as a scavenger hunt of some kind that we put in there to test you, but it is a real, live typo. Since I put up the blog this week, I take all the blame. Of course, blogging is a format that allows (nay - asks!) us to be a little less buttoned up, but does that mean we should sacrifice a little accuracy for a bit more on-the-fly flavor? I smell a Savvy Speaks post in there somewhere...

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