Colloquialisms Can be Charming

Communicate Like a Human: Lesson 2.


The charm of Google Assistant


What Google Assistant lacks for a creative name, he more than makes up with his quirky manner and use of colloquialisms. They make him rather charming. They also clearly differentiate him from the sedate Siri or the try-hard Alexa.


Unsurprisingly, he follows Alexa's lead by using descriptive language, flying in the face of common opinion. Where she favours the adverb, Google veers towards the adjective, words that describe the noun they partner in a sentence.


The reasons for the general distaste people have towards adjectives are the same as discussed in Lesson 1, so we won't go over them again.


TL;DR?

 
 

Google refuses to wear a work hat

(And not just because Google doesn't have a head.)


It isn't enough for Google to throw in opinion willy-nilly. When choosing his adjectives, he prefers to use words with real, personal colour. Words that many would define as colloquial. Or at least, very informal.


The examples in the clip are pretty cool and massive amount.


They are the sort of words that have no place in the boardroom. This belief is based on the premise that when we don our 'work hat', we are required to use a language that is entirely different to the one we speak everywhere else.


I know I am not alone in thinking that attitude banal, but it is a belief so inherent in so many that it is impossible to change. It exists in the same sphere as phobia and religion.

 
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Be charming, not crass


I appreciate Google isn't presenting to the board. And I'm not suggesting you go all 'street on dem ass' here. I'm using this as an illustration for your careful consideration.


The occasional, well-chosen colloquialism gives people a reminder of the real personality behind the PowerPoint. Real people show genuine passion. Real people gain trust and respect.


Real people stand out.


Don't undervalue the power of the unexpected. In a world of grey suits, a flash of personality helps you stand out against your faceless competitors. It helps people remember you. By planning your informality, you can control what they remember you for.

 

Colloquialisms can be surprisingly charming


Imagine the scene:


A speaker begins their presentation by thanking you for sparing them the time. They effuse about being 'really pleased to be talking to you'. They are excited to 'share their innovative ideas'.


Though you may not explicitly acknowledge it, these are lines so well-worn that they bounce off you. You know the presenter is thinking about their weekend plans right now.


A second speaker begins the same presentation. (To avoid doubt, I'm not changing the subject to plagiarism, I'm painting a Sliding Doors scenario.) With an equally professional delivery, they start by telling you they're 'dead, dead excited to be here'. They mention your last campaign was 'so brilliant' and they 'can't wait' to see 'what you think of the stuff' they must show you.


You know they mean it.


You likely notice an involuntary smile has appeared on your face.

 

Finally...

  • Being professional does not mean you must use a prescribed language.

  • If you wouldn’t use terminology in your real life, you shouldn’t use it at work.

  • Show respect for your audience by using language that is appropriate.

  • Colloquialisms are personal so the occasional use will show the real you.




On to Lesson 3: Be Sparing With Short Sentences.

 

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