Please Cut The Crap

Do you get the emails from LinkedIn titled “Jobs you may be interested in?”

It’s clever, isn’t it? Using the data and skills you’ve mentioned in your profile, the system selects you for likely jobs and then tells you about them. I always go and have a look – there’s a frisson of excitement each time I click the link. One day the €480,000 job running the marketing for a Formula 1 team will be advertised on there. I’m sure of it.


But in the meantime, back to the jobs. I clicked the first one in today’s email and I read through it.

Then I read it again, because I realised as I got to the end that I hadn’t a clue what the first reading had told me.

Eventually, after a fourth reading, it became just a little clearer.

I’m fairly bright and I read a lot, so my comprehension should be pretty good, but four readings to understand a job advert?

Let me pick up a couple of the more choice turns of phrase:

  • This vacancy includes a secure fixed term four-year employment contractual agreement and as such the salary offered is calculated under the partnership code
  • The successful candidates will be responsible for facilitating professional internal teams of sales channel management employees who will be allocated by each individual client company

The whole thing is a classic example of using unnecessary jargon and of using far too many words to say something that is actually quite simple, once you've fathomed the code.

Someone, I’m guessing, has spent a lot of time on creating the advert. Carefully crafting it to show the client how well they understand the industry. But they aren’t actually doing that client any favours. I’m well qualified for the job (I think?), but even if I were looking for one, I certainly wouldn’t consider applying through the agency that wrote it, and I’d probably avoid thinking about working for a company that signed it off in the first place.

Unfortunately this kind of stuff is creeping in everywhere in business communication, and it’s slowing business down. Here are some examples from emails I’ve had today:

  • “I am reaching out to you……” What’s wrong with “I’m contacting you……?”
  • “The sign up process is totally and utterly free and super simple”
  • “We are a stand alone platform that connects cool, early stage start ups with key influencers on a multitude of other social media sites”

I know you can work out what the message is in each of those, but it’s hardly intuitive is it? Multiply the extra few seconds it takes to understand what they are saying by the hundred or so emails I get every day, and you can begin to see why it’s a time drain.

I can remember finding some of my Dad’s correspondence to his boss from the 1950’s – full of wheretofores and henceforths. And I was horrified to learn that he signed letters to his boss as “your most obedient servant.”

I used to be delighted to be living in an era where clear, concise and economical language had become the norm in business, but I’m worried we’re slipping backwards.

So please stop reaching out to me.

But feel free to contact me.

As long as you keep it simple and cut the crap.

More from me:

1/ Switch on to the fact that every person in your business is a marketer

2/ The lost art of following up

3/ Only one business can be the cheapest in their market


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