Like some of you, I watch a lot of sports on TV. I listen to sports when I’m in the car. I’m kind of obsessed, I know. Because of this, I hear a lot of different announcers – good ones, bad ones, smart ones, dumb ones. But it’s only over the last couple of weeks – yep, World Cup again – that I’ve come to appreciate how the careful, clever use of language can enhance the event experience much as food is enhanced by the cook who knows how to season it properly. And that’s something to keep in mind for business as well!
ESPN is using British (for the most part) game announcers for the World Cup. Same language, different accents but the biggest difference between this crew and the regular folks we see on US sports is their love of words, their clever use of phrasing, and their understanding of when to keep quiet. “Too many chefs making the gazpacho there” as Spanish players run into one another is so much better than saying “two Spanish players collide going for the ball.” We can see the latter – we’re amused by the former. Think about how many TV folks do radio calls as they describe everything you can see while adding nothing about what you can’t.
Now think of how you write and present. Are you clear? Does your language do more than convey the obvious information? When you present, are you telling bedtime stories – reading slides off a wall – or are you enhancing what your audience sees for itself? When a shot from 35 yards misses the goal, “a bit ambitious there” is nicely understated. Can you say the same for your sales pitches?
I love the great thinking that’s reflected in language properly used. How about you?