No More Geek Speak!
by Dana Bristol-Smith

I was meeting with colleagues when a tech savvy member of our group started speaking about Blogs. In the same sentence he mentioned feeds, posts, RSS, syndication, and some other terms. I looked around the table and noticed that everyone including me had a glazed over look in their eyes and at the same time we exhaled and said "Huh?" We were lost and had no idea what we had just heard meant!

Has that happened to you lately?

The idea of a Blog is really simple; It is a web page that people update regularly and they use it to have a conversation with their readers.

I don't know exactly why, but the world of Blogging (the Blogosphere) has created its own unique language. It seems that every time I turn around, there is a brand new word describing something about Blogs and I have no idea what the heck it means! It's incredibly frustrating!

It is total geek speak.

Being the techie geek loving person that I am, I've considered starting a Blog for a while—but every expert I've heard talk about Blogs has made absolutely no sense to me and could not give me a compelling reason to start one.

That changed when I heard Tom Antion, an internet marketing guy, say that the search engines like Blogs a lot and if you write one on your topic or expertise you will get more visitors to your website.

This I could understand!

Tom gave me a result, not the geek speak that really doesn’t mean anything to me. I really don’t care how they work, or the jargon—I only care about what they will do for me.

Think about the presentations you give and how you can simplify technical terms into plain English. How would you describe it to a 5-year old, (Jack Welch used to make his direct reports do this) or to your grandmother?

How can you explain a technical process— not by how it works, but by the results people will get from using it?

As audience members, this is what we want to know:
What is the WIIFM? The what’s in it for me?

  • How does your idea/suggestion help me?
  • Does it save me money?
  • Does it save me time?
  • Does it make my life easier?
  • Is it so cool that it will make me the envy of others? (iPhone anyone?)

If you can’t tell me that up front, you’re not going to get my attention.

If you want to connect with your audiences--and why else would you bother giving a presentation? Please leave the geek speak and jargon back at your desk!


About the Author
Dana Bristol-Smith is the founder of Speak for Success, an organization that works with companies that want their people to communicate with confidence and credibility. You can email Dana