The curse of trying to sound professional
Ever read something written in ‘corporate speak’ and think to yourself, “This guy is speaking my language!”?
I thought not.
People are creating livelihoods online that never existed before and it’s been nothing short of thrilling to see small-scale businesses pop up all over the internet. (Etsy addicts, raise your hands)
And still, legions of creative, passionate, committed folk torture themselves trying to get their message and their work out into the world.
They’re too busy trying to sound ‘professional.’
I like to think of it as professionalitis. An unnecessary inflammation of the need to sound legit, accomplished…like someone we should give our money to.
If you’re nodding your head in guilt, you’re not alone. All of us have had professionalitis drilled into us.
School teaches us to write and think in formulaic ways. We craft work emails and communicate with strangers in a more formal tone than the way we speak when we’re amongst friends.
It’s just the way we do things.
Business brochures we read while waiting in the doctor’s office are written in proper, formal English. And when we read a tagline or see a commercial for a business that’s clever or cheeky, we find it Refreshing! Modern! Youthful!
Those are the bits of marketing that are memorable. They’re memorable because they’re relatable.
They’re not less professional, they’re more real.
Old style marketing tactics made things memorable by beating us over the head with the same motto or jingle over and over and over again (Hey Canada! “Everyone loves Marineland” right?).
But we don’t have the luxury of reaching the masses again and again and again. Small-scale entrepreneurs make one new fan at a time. We build slow and steady. And we need to find new ways to be memorable. Or rather, revert to the original, natural way to be memorable. By being our damn selves.
‘Professional’ in the traditional sense, is the opposite of memorable.
The truth is that professionalism has nothing to do with robot speak and everything to do with integrity and quality of service.
I could go on.
All of these people/businesses are wildly successful, extremely professional, deliver every time like it’s Christmahannukwanzakah, and (loh!) they show up on line the way they do in real life. No hiding behind professional speak to sound legit here.
They’re legit because they’re real and they dish up their superpowers with integrity. They’re the vanguard of the new professionalism.