Big Words Are Making You Stupid

Well okay, maybe they aren’t making you stupid but to your potential customers they’re making you look stupid. According to a recent study from Princeton, using big words can make your audience think you aren’t as smart as if you were using smaller words.  Derek Halpern over at Social Triggers just did a video on the study and he explains the science of it way better than I ever could so you should go check that out and get all the details, but the long and short of it is people don’t trust big words.

Now this is all my opinion, but it’s based on my experiences and now Princeton is backing me up so pay attention.  Selling is all about building trust and people don’t trust you if you use big annoying pompous words.  People like you to give it to them straight and when you bury them in a dictionary lesson it feels like you are hiding something or trying too hard and people are wary of that.

Don’t Overcomplicate Things

People like things simple.  When you are selling someone something you are only going to be successful when you solve their problem, and they want the simplest explanation of how you are going to do that.  We make websites, we build them using PHP and a MySQL database and no one cares.  Our customers don’t care that we use WordPress to build a website with a blog and content management system.  As far as they’re concerned I might as well be a teacher in a Charlie Brown cartoon.  In most cases it boils down to 2 things…

  1. Is it going to be easy to use
  2. Is it going to make me more money

People don’t care how their engines use gas to make their car go, they just care that they make it to their daughter’s recital or their son’s soccer game.  So make things less complicated and your potential customers will thank you for it.

Dumb It Down

Now what?  Hopefully Princeton and I have convinced you that you need to keep your words small and simple.  Now go through your marketing, your website, that bid you are about to send out.  Are there any big words?  Can they be made smaller and simpler?  Then do it.  Make it easy for your customers to say yes to you.

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