Scene 10: Use “amazingly zippy” words

‘Plug it in. Wirrrrrr. Done.’ Steve Jobs

  • We made the buttons on the screen look so good, you’ll want to lick them
  • He chooses words that are fun, tangible, and uncommon in most professional business presentations

Jobs, Gates, and the plain English test

  • usingEnglish.com – analyzes language based on four criteria:
    • average number of words per sentence
    • lexical density – how easy or difficult a text is to read
    • hard words – average number of words in a sentence that contain more than three syllables.
    • Fog index – the number of years of education a reader theoretically would require to understand the text.
    • Jobs used everyday watercooler conversation words like amazing, incredible, gorgeous.
    • Speaks the same way onstage as does offstage.

Avoid jargon creep

Apple’s mission statement is simple, clear and impactful; full fo emotive words and tangible examples:

Apple ignited the personal computer revolution in the 1970s with the Apple II and reinvented the personal computer with the Macintosh. …

  • Simple
  • Concrete
  • Emotional

A guru who keeps it simple

Jargon: A sure way to upset Jack Welch

  • The coolest thing about ipod is your entire music library fits in your pocket
  • I asked you to buckle up. Now I want you to put on your shoulder harness. (first widescreen notebook)
  • The number one lust object. (powerbook)
  • Insanely great (original Macintosh)

It’s like this …

  • When you find an analogy that works, stick with it. The more you repeat it, the more likely your customers are to remember it.

A cure for bad pitches

  • Don’t sell solutions; create stories instead
  • Nothing will destroy the power of your pitch more thoroughly than the use of buzzwords and complexity – put people to sleep, losing their business, and set back your career
  • Delight your customers with the words you choose – stroke their brains’ dopamine receptors with words that cause them to feel good whenever they think of you and your product. People cannot follow your vision or share your enthusiasm if they get lost in the fog.

Word fun with titles

Director’s notes:

  • Unclutter your copy. Eliminate redundant language, buzzwords, and jargon. Edit, edit, and edit some more.
  • Run your paragraphs through the usingEnglish tool to see just how ‘dense’ it is.
  • Have fun with words. It’s OK to express enthusiasm for your product through superlatives or descriptive adjectives. Jobs thought the buttons on the Macintosh screen looked so good that you would want to ‘lick’ them. That’s confidence.

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