How do you connect with your target audience during these uncertain times? As you craft messaging, consider which of the rapidly evolving terms and phrases used today can help readers understand your position. You want readers to understand what’s happening around the world and feel comfortable knowing you have their best interests at heart. And part of communicating with others is the comfort most feel from clichés that help us quickly understand these trying times.
The language and wording you choose can make or break your interactions with customers and prospects today. It’s up to you to understand how words affect popular sentiments and help your audience find comfort in our current challenges while still looking forward to tomorrow’s re-opening and renewal.
Building a Glossary
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is part of the US Department of Commerce. They have an interesting Glossary of Uncertainty of Measurement Results to help us understand how people use terminology during a global pandemic. When we’re all on the same page of understanding terminology, we can more easily express our thoughts and ideas that makes the most sense to our audience.
As the NIST sees it, a standard of uncertainty is inherent in measurements where the terms are more ambiguous, much like we’re facing with COVID-19. Since there is no record of definitive terminology, we revert to a “combined standard of uncertainty.” It helps your target audience understand and feel a level of confidence during uncertainty.
Take, for example, Yale Medicine, which published a new COVID-19 Vocabulary article to help us understand what these technical terminology actually means. In today’s society, understanding how and what people believe about the global pandemic helps you communicate better with your customers and prospects. And the closer you can get to their understanding of the vocabulary used during these uncertain times, the better you can target your content, articles, surveys, and other communications. Yale’s glossary is fairly comprehensive. If you want to reach your target audience where and how they are faring, this listing provides a comprehensive look at the terms to use.
Another great resource is the Texas Medical Center’s COVID-19 Crisis Catalog: A Glossary of Terms. While they share some terminology with Yale Medicine, they also include several others to help you understand what your audience is going through during these tying times. Texas Medical Center’s expansive glossary goes beyond the medical and social terminology to include a glossary of terms that helps individuals understand what they’re going through at that level of detail. It covers terminology everyone should know at this point in time like PPE (personal protective equipment) and how you can make a difference by observing personal restrictions.
Why You Should Build a Comprehensive Glossary
It’s never been more important to communicate with your target audience than during uncertain times. You want to reassure your customers and prospects that you’re taking the current situation seriously and doing all you can to keep them safe and healthy. This includes surveying your target audience to understand how they’re facing these trying times to discover how you can help them persevere and get “back to normal.”
Googling “how we talk about COVID-19: glossary of terms” brought back almost 10 million hits in 0.61 seconds. It’s that popular and that comprehensive. Before you send out any communication and especially a survey, make sure you understand how people are talking about these uncertain times and how they’re facing them.
Many consider clichés as passé, but in today’s environment, clichés are a form of comfort. “Flattening the curve” is one cliché the medical and government communities use often. They help us understand uncertain ideas and thoughts in easy-to-relate-to terms. We don’t need advanced terminology to gain comfort with little-known processes and procedures. We need the familiarity of clichés to help us understand what we’re facing and how we should address the uncertainty.
Make sure you’re comfortably conversant in the standard glossary of terms people are using today to discuss what we’re all facing. When you communicate with your customers and prospects through understandable terminology, you create a sense of cohesion and unity, of “us against the pandemic.” Always work to place your company, enterprise, or association in the seat next to your target audience. And make sure you use surveys to understand what your audience is feeling and fearing during uncertain times. Then work hard to address their concerns, fears, and hopes with your communication.
Finally, the Mayo Clinic published an article, “How to Talk to Your Kids About COVID-19.” They lay out a simple, down-to-earth discussion about what’s happening and how you’re responding to the crisis. While focused on children, it’s a brilliant guide to help you cover what needs discussed with your customers and prospects. And it will give you ideas on how to survey your target audience to find out what they most need right now. Because if you don’t ask, you’ll never know.