Know The Syntax Own The Bid

fastco valuesbrainstorm2014

This is part of an Instagram posting by Fast Company recently.

Its caption read, “postit exercise we did as staff to describe Fast Company’s mission”.

I warmly applaud the concept.

Sticky labels across the window is a winner.

The words though, well. Here’s a sample of the ten I can make out for those reading small screens;

insight – opportunity – perspective – creativity – design – creative inspiration – innovative design – ideas – confidence – social entrepreneurship

I realise these may not be representative of the entire window. Nor may they be the ‘best’, being seen as they are rather out of context.

But still.

Nothing strikes you as ‘unique’ here. As in, only applicable to this particular publication, different to and beyond any competing such magazine.

After all. If their competitors wrote down words can you really see them being full of alternative options?

And yet Fast Co do occupy a distinctive space I think.

So how come that doesn’t come across from the language they themselves select?

I can picture a business coach rushing to coin for this right now. A written version of the selfie. Rather than mission, a myssion. Hopefully not, hey.

I’m not saying you go hammer a thesaurus. Nor am I suggesting I know Fast Co’s values better than the very people that promote them each day.

Yet the panache, vigour, distinctiveness, fuel, vibrancy, secrets, sense, lightbulbs and pleasure they can create, share, switch on and empower are all missing from their own ‘ideas’.

And so it comes to pass with that large bid you’re deep inside.

I used to have a lot of fun putting a slide up during a presentation about all the jargon that I thought was unique to the prospect. Words which often cropped up as totally their own corporate chit-chat. Words which help define them as a culture.

I’d display my thoughts – always a couple of the more ‘social’ mutterings included too – and then they’d suggest plenty of their own. Safe in the knowledge that I’d be hugely differentiating myself further personally from any competing bidder.

The point was that it helped me identify the language unique to them. Intricacies recognised by them as such. And I could happily tap into it for the rest of the deal.

If all I could glean were words that stank of banal business-bingo speak then I knew I’d struggle for that vital emotional connection. So I made sure I didn’t.

And was forever willing to throw a leftfield, interesting, unusual word into the mix and see progress joyfully flow my – and our – way.

Give it a go yourself and see your stock rise in their eyes.

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