Does Utilizing Voluminous Linguistics Demarcate Oneself as Unintelligent?

"Marketing is a tricky business. We have limited tools to inform potential customers about the awesomeness that is our product or service. These tools are visual images, sounds, and… words."

Many feel the pressure to use more sophisticated words in order to seem more professional.

WARNING: Do not fall into this trap!

Research has found that increasing the complexity of writing is negatively correlated to judgements of intelligence. A study by Daniel Oppenheimer tested essays with varied level of language complexity and found that “smarter sounding language” really made people question the intelligence of the author. Ease in reading (“fluency”) leads to higher judgements of truth, confidence, and enjoyment – meaning that if you use simpler language, your target audience is more likely to trust the message and develop a more positive attitude.

Texts in hard to read fonts are also judged to come from less intelligent authors. Fonts that are harder to read are interpreted as deficiencies in intelligence on the part of the author, who chose a difficult font perhaps without care for the reader.

Another pitfall with complex language is that it opens up the possibility for misinterpretation. By using obscure and uncommon language, you might leave your customers scratching their heads.

How to stay out of the trap:

Simple copy. Simplicity of words can be extremely powerful. Have confidence in your message rather than fluffing up the medium. Sally Ormond has some great alternatives to overused complex words.

Test your message on a sample audience. Do they understand what you are trying to say? Do they question the use of any of the words?

Rely on other senses. Use visuals, sounds, and all the senses to convey your message. As technology continues to develop, the creative possibilities become less restricted in terms of medium. Think outside the box to deliver your message.

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