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Words are a shorthand for what we really mean
The words we use have more meaning than just the dictionary defination.
Douglas Krantz -- Fire Alarm Engineering Technician, Electronic Designer, Electronic Technician, Writer

How Do Words Mean More Than the Words-on-the-Page?

By Douglas Krantz

The words and phrases we use for everyday communications are shorthand for word meanings.

We say "sweep the floor," but what we really mean is "Use the broom to push all the dirt from all the areas of the floor to a center area, and collect the dirt so the whole floor is free from dirt... and looks nice." That may be very obvious, but the words "Sweep the floor" taken out of context, and standing alone, do not say anything about dirt or pushing it with the broom; the words merely mean "make a back and forth movement on the floor."

However, the shorthand "Sweep the floor" has been used so many times that the rest of its meaning is just assumed.

This shorthand meaning is common across the general population. A fast food restaurant employee can use these words with a helicopter pilot, and the helicopter pilot will understand the restaurant employee.

For meanings of words that are work specific (not commonly used by the general population), though, common understanding isn't so common.

Work Specific Shorthand Words

Work specific shorthand words often have word meanings that aren't understood by the general population. As an example, there's a whole set of shorthand meanings for the words used by those in the housekeeping service of a hotel, and there's a whole different set of shorthand meanings for the words used by nuclear engineers of an electrical power plant.

No one would expect the hotel housekeeper to fully understand the term "Non-ionizing Radiation" used by the nuclear engineer, just like no one would expect the nuclear engineer to fully understand the term "Rake the Carpet" used by the hotel housekeeper.

People in the general population aren't expected to understand because, in both cases, these words are work shorthand and, in both cases, the word phrases are not normally used by the general population.

Without some sort of interpretation, the general population listener isn't going to understand the words.

Marketing Using Work Specific Shorthand

Marketing a product or service is showing people what is for sale. In essence, people buying have to understand what they are paying for, or they don't buy.

Be careful when using words - - remember that most words and phrases are a shorthand. If the words aren't understood very well by the general population, those words won't translate from work shorthand - through general population shorthand - to the intended buyer's shorthand.

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Keep in mind that the only other people that are going to understand work specific shorthand words are those in the direct competition. The competition is producing its own products; the competition isn't buying. Don't market to the competition.

Interpret the Shorthand Words

Without proper interpretation, if work specific shorthand words are used, no one is going to be able to market products to anyone.

If the work specific shorthand has to be used, explain the shorthand using general population terms; help those people outside of work understand.

That's really what marketing is about; helping others understand that what is being offered is what they want.


Douglas Krantz

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