As the U.S. 2016 election campaign cranks itself up, I’ve been watching aspects of it with interest. What has really fascinated me is Hillary Clinton’s claim to be reaching out to “everyday Americans”.
They may seem a little illogical when you think about it (exactly which US citizen isn’t an “everyday American”?). However, it’s clear that much thought and planning has been put into this catchphrase.
It’s fair to assume that Hillary didn’t want to appear too highbrow – this has alienated voters in the past, which has cost her dearly.
So she’s keeping it simple and warm, in order to appeal to the widest possible demographic.
I believe that this is a wise policy when it comes to Business English, too. Whether you’re writing an email, preparing a presentation or participating in a meeting, don’t try to impress by using a lot of sophisticated vocabulary. This often comes across as “try-hard”, and can also be difficult to understand.
Consider these two versions:
“In our company there are multitudinous opportunities for professional growth with a company that enjoys an enviable record for stability in the dynamic atmosphere of bio-technology.”
..as opposed to:
“Our company provides opportunities for professional growth and stability in the dynamic bio-tech sector.”
Simpler and that much more effective!
Use simple but direct language to get your message across and you’ll be sure to reach the hearts and minds of your audience – just as Hillary hopes to.