October 15, 2012

Let's make our own fresh expressions

Photo by goenetix
I recently started a thread on Facebook with this comment:

"Here's another marketing term I'm sick of: 'Pulling [some say 'peeling'] back the curtain.' I get the concept here, but can't you think of a different way to say it? I have e-mails from SEVEN different coaches right now using this expression in their sales copy. Come on, be original!"

And a couple of days before that:

"It's official. I'm sick of the term 'juicy' to describe anything but food (okay, 'juicy details' is still acceptable). My inbox is full of Internet marketers calling their workshops and content 'juicy,' their info 'juicy,' and their conversations 'juicy.' They're not. They're NOT JUICY. So stop it!"

(Maybe I get a little too bent out of shape, but I subscribe to a lot of newsletters, and it gets really old.)

We all have our gripes about the way others use the English language: clich├ęs, overused buzzwords, poor grammar and spelling, etc. And any time something like this comes up in a discussion forum or social media thread, it's inevitable that the comments will be endless and scathing.

So I want to propose something different here. Let's actually come up with some fresh alternate expressions. Right here in the comments.

I decided, in response to a networking group discussion about the topic "Is the elevator pitch dead?" to start using the phrase "professional introduction" instead of "elevator speech," which seems outdated and inaccurate to me.

I'm posting a couple of expressions and words below that came up in the Facebook discussions as generally annoying and overused. Can you think of a better, more interesting, or more compelling way to say the same thing? Let's put our creative brains to the test!

1. Pulling back the curtain

Some of the comments on Facebook actually found this to be a perplexing expression, since most of us grew up with The Wizard of Oz, and pulling back the curtain to expose the charlatan behind it is not a good business reference. However, what they really mean is "Reveal the secrets to running a successful business." That kind of pulling back the curtain.

2. Juicy (for anything not food-related)

3. Yummy (for anything not food-related... typically about something luxurious like fabric or yarn, but I've seen it used even further out of context)

4. Submit your burning questions

5. Explode (as in, "Your business will explode," or "Explode your profits!")

6. Epic (kind of reminds me of surfer talk, like "gnarly")

7. Irresistible

And a few tried and true that are just a bit stale:

8. "For less than the price of a cup of coffee per month, you can join (donate, help, etc.)"

9. Stay tuned

Any you'd like to add? Feel free! (And here's a blog post by Lisa Stewart specifically on the use of "yummy.")

On The Everything Page you'll find everything you need to build visibility, credibility and influence through engaging presentations that move your participants into action: freebies, low-cost products and courses, and 1:1 coaching!

8 comments. Please add yours! :

Tea Silvestre, aka Word Chef said...

I'd like to add "roadmap," "blueprint," and "recipe." Oh! And "6-figures!" I wrote about why here http://thewordchef.com/2012/09/dont-read-the-instruction-manual-its-time-to-improvise/

Lisa Braithwaite said...

Read it, loved it. :-) We can keep complaining about all the unoriginality, or we can come up with alternatives! I'm hoping to see some good alternatives here...

Michelle_Mazur said...

Instead of elevator pitch - I've been hearing about 45 second commercials. As in, "you need to give your commercial to this group." I like your idea of the professional introduction. I think the alternatives are found in plain language. Instead of your business will explode - how about your profits will increase. (Frankly, I don't want my business to explode since I work from home that would be tragic).

Lisa Braithwaite said...

Yes, "30-second commercials" are standard in networking groups. I still prefer "professional introduction" (which is actually more of a one-on-one thing), because I don't like the "pitch" or "commercial" concept. So agree with you on plain language, Michelle. I haven't written a blog post on it in a while, but it's so simple, yet overlooked. It's what people understand; it's clear; it's concise.

Let's not have ANYTHING explode in our businesses, shall we?

Michelle_Mazur said...

I thought of another one. World Class - world class coach, speaker, author, garbage removal specialist. World Class is absolutely meaningless. How about just stating what makes you so great.

Lisa Braithwaite said...

OMG - perfect example. What the heck does it even mean?

Bob Jensen said...

"Professional Introduction" is a wonderful way to lose your intended audience very quickly! Some people will inevitably think of a dating service, some will reflect back to their days leading up to their first debutante ball, still others will be be unimpressed, since they'll presume virtually all introductions imply some degree of professionalism.

"Elevator pitch" as a metaphor is a bit long in the tooth (another metaphor), but for one good reason:
it successfully encapsulates a very strong, very focused, intensely visual image in the minds of your audience, an image that requires no further explanation.

You say "elevator pitch" and 99% of your audience will immediately mentally translate that to "an impromptu time-limited one-on-one pitch opportunity to a captive audience free of distraction". Most importantly, your audience will nod their head...they will KNOW where you're coming from.

Try that with "professional introduction" and count the confused looks and furrowed eyebrows on your audience's faces.

Lisa Braithwaite said...

Bob, "professional introduction" is a term I use for myself. I don't need to please an audience with the phrase, because I don't go up to people and say, "Hey, here's my professional introduction," just like I don't announce I'm about to give an elevator speech. It's just an introduction that describes what I do and who I serve professionally. It's not a commercial and it's not a pitch. Can't be more clear than that.

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