A key component of a highly effective direct sourcing program is the ability to attract the high-value independent talent that the enterprise needs. In one sense, the activities associated with accomplishing this are like employee recruitment. However, there are differences that are important to understand, and one of these is the way in which you communicate.
“Corporate speak,” the communication mode that is deeply rooted in the business world, is highly unattractive to most if not all independent professionals, particularly those in the younger generations who want simple, no-nonsense communication. Corporate speak uses complicated or obscure words as well as abbreviations and acronyms. Certain metaphors and phrases—for example, throwing spaghetti at the wall or building the plane while flying it—have also become part of the corporate speak lexicon. The use of a particular word or phrase can become trendy (e.g. paradigm, stakeholder, out of the box) and end up being overused.
To an independent professional, someone who reads material across a range of prospects, customers, and media, corporate speak is essentially meaningless. In the best-case scenario, the reader will ignore these words or phrases and concentrate on understanding the message in the communication. In the worst case, corporate speak will negatively bias the reader as it sends up a red flag that raises questions about the desirability of the company as a client.
Examples of Language to Avoid in Attracting Independent Professionals
These are examples of the kind of communications that can turn off an independent professional. Corporate-speak words and phrases that need to be reworked are italicized.
- We use our data-driven integrated marketing and manufacturing platform to streamline solutions for our clients, reduce friction and enhance their marketing spend effectiveness. (There’s a lot to unpack here. Most of the sentence is confusing jargon.)
- You are a multi-disciplinary writer who excels at taking complex topics and transforming them into compelling and easily understandable copy that captures the attention of the target audience. (There’s irony in defining the role using a complex and not very understandable sentence.)
- You will be helping drive the marketing strategy to increase brand and product awareness, grow website traffic, create demand, drive leads, and improve sales velocity. (The series of things in this sentence is overly complex. Wait till the interview to go into detail.)
- You will participate in the ideation process and distill our value propositions into compelling campaigns that build demand for our product. (Try your hand at a simpler and more conversational way to say this.)
4 Ways to Check Your Language
Any company has its own communication structure which may include a certain amount of corporate speak. The use of certain words, phrases, and acronyms can act as shortcuts to make a point that everyone understands. Any independent professional you engage will learn your particular “dialect” once they are on the job. However, when you are speaking to attract new independent talent, it’s important to “translate” your communications into less company-specific language.
Here are four ways to make sure that your external communications to independent talent are as free as possible from confusing or jargonized language.
- Review the communication. Is the message being conveyed as simply as possible?
- Read it out loud. Are there places where you stumble or where the flow seems choppy?
- Ask another person to review it. Provide the context to them (e.g., this is external, going to potential contractors who have not worked for us before) and ask for feedback.
- Consider using a digital helper. A tool like Grammarly can help with conciseness and tone, though you may still need to find and fix jargon on your own.