The Pitfall of “Dumbing Down” and How It Affects Our Customers

The Pitfall of Dumbing Down
Photo by Jami

The Pitfall of "Dumbing Down" and How It Affects Our Customers

The other day, I overheard a coworker talking about "dumbing down" when talking with contractors so they understand what you are saying. And I thought, "Ah, man, you've missed it."

The trouble with using the term, "dumbing down", is that it creates a wall between us and our audience. It makes us think that we are smart and they are dumb, and it fuels negative thoughts toward our readers.

Albert Einstein once said, "Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid."

Each person (and creature on this Earth) has a talent. One person may have extensive knowledge and experience in one area and another person (your prospect or contractor or whoever) may have extensive knowledge and experience in another area. We are not all alike, and there are some things that come easily to us and some things that do not.

If we look at our writing as dumbing down, we've missed the boat. We've just created a wall between us and our customers or readers.

Instead of thinking of it as dumbing down, think of it as writing in your audience's language. They're not stupid. They just don't have the specialized knowledge that you have, and that's the whole point. Your readers need you because of the value that you can provide. If they had the same knowledge (or were "smart like you"), they wouldn't need you and you would be out of work. So, be willing to teach them. Genuinely love people and be willing to explain your world so they will be able to receive value from you.

As you write your copy or your blog content, also focus on writing clearly. As a general rule, readers don't always take the time to read a full article or a whole email anyway. But writing clearly can help them get in and out with the information they need to take another step forward.

The other thing to consider is that marketing experts have discovered that content written at a 7.5 (or lower) Flesch-Kincaid reading level has a better conversion rate than content written at a higher level. This applies to every profession and skill level, so even a doctorate in biochemistry prefers reading content written at a lower level.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Please share them in the comments section below.

Jody Calkins
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