One of my favorite professors in college loved to
I think he loved to say it because he was a little offbeat and such a weird
phrase fit his quirky image. But he also said it for a good reason. It was to
help his confused and struggling students be more effective in how we
The literal meaning of my professor’s fun phrase is “avoid ambiguity” or
“seek clarity”. That much he made clear. But I think he meant something more. I
believe he was telling us to be memorable. Don’t just be clear. Communicate in
ways people will remember.
Like “eschew obfuscation”. It was very memorable for me.
As we promote our businesses, we would do well to remember both of my
professor’s lessons. Our customers (and others we depend on) are bombarded daily
by thousands of messages. So, for us to connect with people and attract their
attention, we need to be better than the rest.
Being clear and memorable will help.
To make sure you’re being clear in your communications, avoid big words,
uncommon words and industry-specific (jargon) words unless you’re certain your
audience understands them. Limit your communications to one idea each. (One idea
per email, one idea per mailing, one idea per advertisement, etc.)
Ask your customers for their feedback. Do they really understand what you’re
trying to say in your marketing, service and other communications with them?
Always re-read and proof-read anything you send in print. If it’s a very
important letter or email, have another person proof-read it for you.
It’s easy for us to know what we’re saying because we’re also thinking it.
But it’s just as easy for the receiver of our email or letter to not understand
what we mean, because they’re filtering it through their lens of experience.
To be memorable, be authentic. Sound like who you really are. The best way
for people to remember your message is to say it with your voice. Otherwise you
risk sounding like every one else. Then no one will remember anything you
Also, say things people do not expect. Don’t be disgusting or unprofessional
but take a different stand. Use your communications to position your company as
different from the rest.
Finally, to be memorable, tell a story. Don’t overwhelm your customers (or
anyone else) with facts, figures and reams of data. Tell them a real story of
how your company helped someone like them. Show them an example of how your
product or service made a difference to someone.
You want more customers? Be clear and be memorable. Eschew Obfuscation.