Seth Godin wrote a cautionary post last week on “weasel words”.
The upshot? Telling the truth is a better tactic than trying to hype, evade or downright lie. Telling the truth builds trust. It can pique interest and help connect you to the right people.
I’d like to expand Seth’s definition a tad to include words that evoke even shades of weasel. In professional services, this means making statements that anyone could (and probably has). Pronouncements that are so bland and expected, they convey nothing.
Here are a few examples of wasted weasel words (typos left intact and names disguised), from live websites of boutique professional service firms:
“Why XYZ? XYZ’s team members approach the business as a whole. The team is business focused with extensive knowledge of technology. In this way they are able to identify the root cause of business problems, define & implement solutions. Secondarily, the XYZ team are experts in building internal teams to define and implement the solutions thus reducing internal resistance to change.” (Huh? You do what?)
“We provide outstanding service to our clients because of our attention to details.” (Really—they hire you just for that?)
“XYZ believes in the Value of Relationships and views every client relationship like a partnership; truly believing that their success is a result of your success.” (Oh please. Just because it’s capitalized doesn’t make it so.)
“We believe in the value of relationships. We view every client relationship like a partnership, and truly believe that our success is a result of your success.” (Better English, but still not memorable.)
“Our dedication to quality client service has brought us to the Internet as we endeavor to provide exceptional and quality professional service and guidance to our valued clients. “(Oh, you’ve made it to the internet. And you “endeavor” to be great. Boy, let me grab my checkbook!)
Take a good look at how you describe yourself and your team. If you’re using weasel words, save your breath. Rethink what’s truly unique and special about you and your services.
And then, whack the weasel.