Industry Speak versus Street Speak

Whether you are writing a press release, your company's boilerplate About Us statement or copy for a web site or marketing brochure, you need to make sure you are speaking in "street speak" as opposed to "industry speak". Not doing so can cost you in lost sales leads, less media exposure and other missed opportunities. It can also impact your search engine rankings (e.g., how high up your company shows up on the search results page when buyers do a search for products and services you sell).

Industry Speak includes a lot of jargon and it has a place when talking shop with company peers or other industry insiders. But it should not be used when talking with customers or the media. For these interactions, use street speak. Street speak is the language and tone you use in everyday social interactions. In other words, it is how we talk with one another. If someone asked you at a dinner party what your company does, how would you respond? If you recite your company's About Us statement, chances are the person you were talking with would have no idea what you were talking about.

Here are a few About Us statements from various HR suppliers that include too much Industry Speak. We've deleted the company and product names to protect the guilty:

"COMPANY is a comprehensive business-management solution built on the highly scalable and affordable platform of Microsoft technologies. It offers a cost-effective solution for managing and integrating manufacturing, project accounting, field service, customer relationships, and human resources."

"COMPANY delivers on-demand talent management solutions that enable organizations of all sizes to assess, acquire, develop and align their workforce for improved business performance."

"COMPANY develops and delivers integrated, customized, Web-enabled solutions designed to aid in the background verification, applicant management and human resource collaboration processes."

I'm an industry insider and yet I still don't completely understand what exactly the above suppliers are selling.

Now look at this street speak About Us statement where we leave in the company name to reward the innocent.

"Leade Health helps organizations decrease medical costs and increase productivity by supporting individuals in changing behavior. We do this by assessing and triaging high-risk individuals into highly personalized health coaching programs."

Take a look at your marketing collateral and see how much of it is written as industry speak and then consider editing it to street speak.