5 Tips To Simplify Your Message

In PR, we love to take the complicated and simplify it. 

So when we started the Entrepreneurship program last week with a smart quote from Einstein, I was excited to discuss the importance of simplifying your elevator pitch. It's so important for entrepreneurs, startups and small business owners.

It isn't easy to simplify. It's tough and it can take months (sometimes years) to finesse your language to be compelling to your customers. Language is subjective and it's easy to fall back on features, jargon and overused words. But don't do it! 

Here's 5 Tips To Simplify Your Message

1. Don't focus on features. Seriously, don't. If you're a developer, you should be proud that your gadget is 5x faster than your competitors but it's doesn't mean any of us understand what a gigabyte or RAM, or whatever you call it, means.

 Photo credit: http://www.123rf.com/

Photo credit: http://www.123rf.com/

2. Explain the lifestyle benefit. Instead of focusing on features, speak about the lifestyle benefit. Think about Apple - they don't sell their products based on RAM, megapixels, bits & bites. They sell beauty, family-time, vacations, friendships, etc.

This chart will give you an idea of what benefits you should focus on depending on whether you're selling to consumers or businesses.

3. Don't use jargon. There's a lot of jargon in the business world. When I first started out, if someone was filling their language with jargon, I had a feeling they didn't actually know what they were talking about (my intuition was correct). Explain your message is layman's terms and prove you really do know what you're talking about. And seriously, if you say leverage when you can simply say use, it's just annoying.

4. Stay away from overused, empty words. In PR, our industry loves to look at overused words in press releases. These words are often empty and have no meaning. Are you 'excited to announce', or can you simply 'announce' and prove in the remainder of your release what makes it exciting?

Below are the most overused PR words in 2013. If it's not necessary to use these words, try to choose words with more meaning. In my personal opinion, the word 'great' should never be used to describe something; instead tell me what makes it great.

5. Finally, do the Grandma test! This is a suggestion from the class instructor, Keri Damen. Once you have your elevator pitch, test it out with your Grandma. Does she understand what you're saying? Does she think it sounds valuable? Did you pique her interest? If yes, then you're on your way to simplifying your message.

This isn't to say Grandmas aren't smart people; they are too wise and they won't let you get away with the same jargon they've been hearing for 60 years, or new words that don't make sense to anyone but you!

This is a sponsored post on behalf of University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies Certificate in Entrepreneurship program; however, the opinions provided are my own.