Learning The Language of Your Customers and Coworkers

Welcome to the fifth blog of my 30-day blogging project. Warning! All of the blogs for this project will be posted unedited, unfiltered.

Like any relationship, your employment can have a language in and of itself. Every company can come with a completely different set of acronyms and tonality. There are even particular phrases and words that are unique to that company. So, I started wondering, how has my employment, both past and present changed they way I speak? Just like my skill set, has my vernacular changed over the years because of my employment?

Flashback time…. waynes-world_o_GIFSoup.com_

Mission Capable

A few years ago, I worked for an outdoor apparel design company where 80% of our customers were military, either veterans or current. And, 100% of our customers were avid outdoor enthusiasts. My vernacular changed dramatically.  Everything was very serious, so serious, and very male in tone. For example, I don’t think I ever used the word “love” on any of our communications. (Yeah, like most men use the word love to describe anything, never-the-less an eight-inch titanium folder with Teflon coated bearings.) Trying to write for an avid outdoor survival extremist took some getting used to, that’s for sure. My language became very mission capable and masculine, so much so that many of  our customers were surprised once they learned I was female. During my time at this company, my editorial development taught me to reach your customer, you need to put yourself in their shoes and talk as they do.

urban_dictionary_smmagUnderstanding the Language of Teenagers

I knew thought that UrbanDictionary would become my best friend, but while working for an app company we became besties. The app was a mobile-first company — everything we did was on mobile, for mobile, by mobile. Most of our customers were teenagers. I learned how to communicate with them not only on social networks, but in-app through our service, ads, and customer service. Not only did my writing style have to change, but my search inquiries also had to change. I mean it’s kinda hard to listen to the conversations around your company if you don’t understand the language of your customer. After a few months, my personal vocabulary changed so much that my favorite word became “Awesome”. Like, I know, how awesome is that? If I learned one thing here, it was to fully listen to your customer, you need to understand their language and all of its idioms.

The Goog — the Land, the Myth, The Legend

The internal language of Google changed my vocabulary more than the language of our product’s customer base. After all, we had a HUGE customer base. The Goog has a language all of its own. With a company the size of a small country, how could it not? Like most tech companies, all of our beta products had their own secret names. The names were all very light-hearted, fun and still purpose-built, hence the company culture. Plus, the Goog has its own internal terminology to describe groups of people. For example, I was a Tattogoogler since I’m heavily tattooed. Also, we never called it Google. It was The Goog, not to be mistaken for the Borg. It tlook me a while to learn all the internal dialogue. But once I did, I guess I could hold an entire conversation just using the company’s internal language. How 007.

urlAcronyms — The New ABCs

Today, I work for a B2B tech company that helps business manage their expenses, travel and invoicing through automated solutions. My biggest learning curve here was learning all the internal acronyms. Going from mainly B2C companies to B2C was challenging enough, but add our internal company dialogue, and I learning another language altogether. The most difficult part of the language for me is that they way our company talks internally is quite different than the way our end user speaks. I deal with small and medium sized businesses. Yes, we all talk about ROI and productivity, but in different ways. This has shown me that no matter how you talk about solutions internally, it won’t matter if you can’t speak the language of the consumer.

So, what has this all taught me?

Well, the three takeaways for me are:

  1. The ONLY way to reach your customer is to learn their language and culture.
  2. Internal company language is quite different than external. Never the two shall meet.
  3. Your experiences change not only your skill level but your vocabulary.

There’s more than one language at your job. Understanding the value of the language of your co-workers and customers, even though they can be different, can help in your communications, both past, present and future.

I’d love to hear how your job, past or present, has changed your vocabulary. Let’s continue this conversation in the comments below.

How To Politely Say No?

Welcome to the forth blog of my 30 day blogging project. Warning! All of the blogs for this project will be posted unedited, unfiltered.

Today’s blog is more of a rant than anything else.

I just returned last week from a work related conference. My pocket is full of business cards from all the wonderful people I met, and my mind is spinning with new information and techniques. Then, I get bombarded with the sales calls — some of which I have asked for them to reach out and others where I have no idea who they are. They overwhelm me and frankly just put a bad taste in my mouth. I realize that from a lead generation perspective that an event is a great place to generate new leads, but contacting them should be done with a sense of class and consideration. So I ask, how do we improve this new generation of the door-to-door sales guy in the digital age?

One guy called me this morning at 8 AM my time. He called my personal cell number too. Oh the humanity! Did he not realize that I was on my way to work? And my cell? Geez! He also emailed me, but never referenced the phone call. #Fail.

Then there’s the company, who shall remain nameless, who continue to reach out to me even though I have told them no. I have zero interest in giving them any business because they have personally treated their employees like crap – a few of whom are my friends. Can they not put two and two together? I mean after all, I was first introduced to them by their now ex-employees. Two words people – relationships matter!

And last but not least there’s the company that ceases to stop bombarding me with meeting requests. I have politely said no, I don’t have the time to look at their service. I hate to be rude, but sometimes it seems like rudeness is the only way to go.

I am very honest with businesses I am working with already. Sometimes, I have to wait on others to make the call, and I tell them that. So why can’t I be brutally honest with those that I would never even suggest hiring? Do I need to be rude?

If I could and really cared enough to, I would just hand all of these people over to lead generation and CRM solutions. Maybe there’s a form letter I could send as a reply that would direct people how to approach sales’ leads — a how to do it right.

Something like:

Dear annoying sales person,

Please look up not only what I do, but where I am located BEFORE you reach out to me. You have started out on the wrong foot by calling me early in the morning or continuing to reach out to me when I politely declined your meetings. You have treated others in the past like dirt, so why would I want to hire you just to be treated the same way. Look into a CRM or another lead scoring tool – believe me, they exist- before you try to land my business. Now, I politely ask for you to leave me alone.



If you could craft a form letter to respond to this type of annoying sales calls, what would it say?

Embracing Your Mistakes

Welcome to the third blog of my 30 day blogging project. Warning! All of the blogs for this project will be posted unedited, unfiltered.

I remembered when I colored out of the lines for the first time, and thought, “oh no!” However, my very next thought was, “Oh Boy!” So today in my work, I’m constantly wondering when is it ok to go outside the lines. When is it ok to be that kid again and say “Oh Boy!” more. Maybe, I shouldn’t wonder so much, but instead just learn how to go with the flow and embrace my mistakes.

This past weekend while I was out with friends, my phone starting taking weird photos. If I colored in the lines, I would get angry — damn phone, messing up again. But, because I like to embrace mistakes, I was more mesmerized by the cool f*cked up photos.

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So in short, this weekend my phone taught me to be that little kid again. Take a moment to step back, look at a mistake and learn from it. Embrace it.

Mistakes, another form of inspiration. Maybe?

What mistake have you embraced lately?

Inspiration Does Not Respond to Meeting Requests

Welcome to the second blog of my 30 day blogging project. Warning! All of the blogs for this project will be posted unedited, unfiltered.

InspirationWe all have them, meetings. Sometimes, we even have meetings about more meetings. Oh the pain, make it stop!

Then, we have brainstorming meetings to create ideas and inspiration. However, when was the last time inspiration responded to a meeting request? Um…never! So why do we count on meetings to find inspiration?

I’ve been thinking a lot about where to find this so-called inspiration. I asked my friends, listened to content marketing experts like Jay Baer and dazed into my cat’s eyes for deep insight. (Ok, maybe my cat had little to say, but she’s so fluffy, I couldn’t help it.)

Great places my friends find inspiration:

  • In nature, especially water.  – S B Hadley Wilson
  • In a bottle. 🙂
  • I usually find it in creative projects that invariably demand lots of perspiration. – Kenneth W.
  • In the creativity of other people – Adam Helweh
  • Mood, oddly enough, is commonly the starting palette. From there… extraneous influence. Who or what it could be… depends on the moment. – Marc Morris 
  •  At home drinking tea, burning incense and listening to classical music. – Melodi C.
  • Friends. – Sukhjit Ghag
  • Megadeth – Jason Miller
  • Between inspects and inspirational in the dictionary. – Jason L.
  • At the risk of sounding trite, it most often finds me. Abruptly! – Al-x
  • … pinterest – Shana Bull
  • In Cleveland OH – Kristin Wyke
  • Inspiration is serendipitous so I try to diversify my experiences. – Evy Wilkins
  • My dogs, walking to work from the ferry, talking to my mom, going for a run, watching people at a bar, looking at old photos. – Erin Robbins O’Brien
  • Venn Diagrams are the best. Adding, subtracting & intersecting different concepts is a great way to tap golden inspiration. – Nick Kellet
  • I also find SlideShare is a great source. I try to read broadly, but find Tweetchats are also a great source of inspiration. – Nick Kellet
  • My wife & daughter. Music. Pop culture disasters. – Andy Levey
  • I always say if you are seeking inspiration find new music and new experiences. – Eva Crawford
  • When I work on the head, I look at the feet. Giacometti
  • Either look so deeply at your subject the familiar that it becomes strange. OR look everywhere else. – James Buckhouse
  • Nature, early morning, silence, reading, the simple little things, and meditation usually do it for me! – Grace Boyle

My top places to find inspiration:

  • My family (past and present)
  • My friends
  • While taking a walk through the park
  • At the museum
  • Kids — their perspectives and views about life are so enlightening.
  • Comedy shows
  • Listening to all types music
  • Music lyrics
  • Crowdsourcing
  • In the shower
  • Pop culture
  • Watching people interact
  • My cats
  • Reading — blogs, news, really anything…
  • Architecture
  • Art
  • Science
  • Other cultures
  • And yes, even while in the bathroom 🙂

Where do you find inspiration?

Let us know by commenting below.

30 Day Blogging Project – Unedited, Unfiltered

tumblr_mc1ykmm9MN1r2rxthWelcome to the first blog of my 30 day blogging project.

Warning! All of the blogs for this project will be posted unedited, unfiltered.

One of my key take aways from Content Marketing World is that the work I do for my job is great, but I could use work on my personal blog and content marketing. I mean, why can I help promote a business, but not myself? I rarely blog for my own personal channels since I craft, write, edit and promote 2 – 5 blogs a week for work. I mean, I can write…right?

So, in the effort to write more and judge myself less, I am doing a project starting today to blog for 30 days — everyday. One of my main issues is that I write my own blogs, but never publish them. I guess I’m just too judgement on myself. So welcome to my unedited, unfiltered blog!

Please enjoy (and don’t judge me on my lack of great spelling or grammar).