First off, It was a fantastic experience for our whole team to create a whiteboard video with Weird Al Yankovic. While it may seem like he’s just poking fun at corporate lingo, he’s actually doing us a favor. He’s pointing out a pitfall any of us could fall into.
Jargon is an important part of any culture. Jargon lets you know who’s a part of your circle and who’s not. When people within a group use slang, nicknames, and acronyms, it makes them more familiar to each other. Jargon is a very good thing…for those inside the circle.
In our whiteboard videos, familiar words allow us to say a lot of things in succinct ways. Instead of going on and on for sentences about the how we need to find ways to make the work I do and the work you do work together and resonate as a whole…we can say “Synergy”. There’s even more economy when we can draw an image that says a thousand words.
Jargon is only an issue when the viewer can’t see any authenticity behind it. It doesn’t matter what you say or what words you use if the authenticity isn’t apparent. It’s important to us that our videos we create express as much authenticity as possible.
Here are a few things to consider in being authentic in your messaging.
1. Be Concise. Your best first step is to tell your story simply. Use exactly the number of words you need to get your idea across. Respect the viewers’ time, but don’t skimp on story, or the information they want.
2. Cut out the flash. Being clever and getting a laugh is fun. Entertainment and excitement can work too. But when we put too much makeup on your message too often, your audience may think you’re trying to cover up blemishes.
3. Speak their language, not your own. Jargon seems inauthentic to someone outside your circle. Don’t start out speaking in a different language–start by learning theirs. Their language is also jargon, by the way.
4. Align with their pride or their pain. A bird can mimic language, but mimicry is not authenticity. Don’t just use their language, show that you understand their point of view. Solve the frustration and viewers will trust your intention.
5. Prove it. Be transparent about how you’ve done what you say you can do. This key to this point is literally “be authentic”. Give them a low barrier for trusting your words.
It’s hard to show authenticity where there is none; it’s easy to destroy authenticity even when its real.
We hope you enjoyed Weird Al’s Whiteboard Video “Mission Statement” which you can watch again here. Read about how it was made here.