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It's Not What You Say, It's How You Say It: Why Language Matters for Companies

“It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.”

-somebody said that once.

“Words matter.”

-somebody else said that once.

I agree with both statements.

I believe that sometimes, no matter how you say it, the words you use are more impactful than the manner in which you say it.

I believe that sometimes, you can say something and solicit a positive response from the listener based on your tone and demeanor, even if the words used are harsh.

I also think it’s important for companies to develop and train on the language used. All team members need to be using the same language, saying the same phrases.

Example: I spent many years in the fitness industry and owned a gym for 3 years. In my fitness center, I trained staff to say:

“We don’t sell memberships. We sell fitness.”

“We have coaches. You probably know the term “personal trainer”, but we call them coaches.“

“We change lives.”

“We don’t have classes. We offer sessions.”

That last one is so fun, yet often so frustrating for me to explain. But let me try.

The fitness industry has used the term “class

es” to describe any type of fitness workout led by an instructor with more than one attendee.

In most gyms, classes are free. No charge. I don’t know why the term “class” became the term used. It doesn’t make any sense. Nobody is taking notes, there is no lecture, there is no exam or test. And there is no teacher.

Now think about one on one personal training. It’s never called a class. It’s always called a session and it always costs money.

And most fitness centers offer FREE classes.

Enter small group personal training. Typically four clients and one coach. It’s a way to get a similar experience to one on one personal training with a significant cost savings.

In another career, I helped dozens of fitness centers implement small group personal training and the single biggest thing that needed repeated training and repeated reminder on was calling it a “session” versus a “class”. Time and time again, staff would mess up and refer to it as a class, and many of them would fail to see why it mattered.

I would say, “Classes are FREE. Sessions cost money.” I would say this over and over and eventually, staff would get it right.

I am now in the mattress………………….the sleep industry. And language matter here.

Examples: “Deep, restorative sleep.” We say that in our sleep shops (Snooze Mattress Company) instead of “good night’s rest.”

“Sleep system” This includes all of the components that work together to create deep, restorative sleep: Mattress, pillows, sheets, power base, protector, etc.

We don’t say: “You need a mattress and accessories.”

There are many others words and phrases, but I predict you get the point.

In your business, you do something for a reason, and you market yourself as being different and therefore better than your competitors.

And you need to be using language that is different than your competitors.

Sleep deep. Dream big.

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