Are you missing opportunities simply because you are avoiding letting people know what you do…
The Chrysalis of Language… Like Srsly WTH Is the Go??
A few weeks ago I was on a train heading into the city. Usually I use the travel time to catch up on a podcast. On this occasion I had forgotten my headphones and had nothing to do but tune into the rhythmic sound of the train.
All was going splendidly until a gaggle of millennial girls, boarded cackling like free range chooks. They chose the seats in front of me, (you know the two seats that face each other), and settled in for, like a lively conversation.
Immediately I felt like David Attenborough, gazing on societies future with a mix of awe and confusion. For the most part, the words coming from their mouths sounded familiar, but, the context in which they were used and the meaning they appeared to be putting behind some of them left me wondering…
When did I become so #lame? I SMH from this fleeting thought, knowing it couldn’t possibly be true and instead began to ponder.
How, do we make the business leap from communication as ‘we’ know, to the shorthand that is the everyday language of the real world? If we aren’t adapting our communication skills to suit this generation shift, then the way we pitch our business concept is also missing a good percentage of potential new customers.
Think about it, if your business employs millennials or is targeting millennials as clients in any way (and let’s face it, most businesses have a percentage of millennial customers these days) then your radar should be tuned to the fact that communication methods have changed.
A good part of our language now is shorthand. This is not at all surprising when you consider millennials preferred ways to communicate are via text and social media. In both options space and time are at a premium and the mighty # rules the virality and validity of your message.
Language adaptation is not a new thing. The way we communicate has been refining and adapting for as long as humans have spoken. You only need to review a Shakespeare play to know ‘Ye Olde English’ is no longer common vernacular. I only have to drop words like ‘rad’ or ‘wicked’ in front of my tween Goddaughters to know that the 1980s turn of phrase has well and truly dated me.
So why should millennials be any different? They are doing what humans have always done and found a way to converse with society that suits them. It’s up to us to learn and adapt along with them.
This leaves a huge opportunity for any business willing to traverse the world of the shorthand language and start peaceful negotiations with the latest generation.
Hopefully in a way that won’t be considered #lame
To get started, you can observe the millennial species in their natural habitat (usually shopping centres). You could approach your own millennials and attempt to engage in conversation while taking notes, or, you can review the data I’ve gathered below and begin your own modern business dictionary for adaptation and adoption.
Let’s start with the one’s that you’ve already heard, and for the most part, have already been adapted to conventional language.
OMG: Oh My God
LOL: Laugh Out Loud
YOLO: You Only Live Once
DM: Direct Message
Let’s up the ante a little shall we…
BAE: Before Anyone Else
JOMO: Joy Of Missing Out. Similar to FOMO, but taking the twist on choosing not to attend an event you think would have been lame anyway.
The Struggle Is Real: If you hear this one, it means your millennial is annoyed at something
Can’t Even: Used to describe a situation that is ridiculous or overwhelming.
SMH: Shaking My Head. Used in context when something is perceived as an injustice.
I could keep going, but, the point is this. It’s time we made an effort to look at the way our business is ‘showing up’ and communicating to your staff and to your customers. This is not a study into human behaviour, it’s a mirror to ask whether or not you are adopting and adapting the way you reach out to your intended audience. Whether you are making an effort to entice and attract millennials to engage with your business.
If not, you totes have the opp to #change, but you best do it on the ASAP or risk Bye Felicia!
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