The contagiousness of language, or why I never want to “hit my list”

Last week I was talking strategy and implementation with one of my amazing support team and I said, “…and once I’ve done that I’ll hit my list and…”

Then I paused. “Wait. I don’t want to hit my list. I want to beguile my people. I want to rock their world, entice them, serve them and offer something I think they’ll adore. So that. I’ll do that, instead.”

The phrase “hit your list” (meaning: to send out a high-impact email to your mailing list) is a common one in the old-school marketing lexicon. It describes how they do what they do quite well.

But it doesn’t describe what I want to do. And worse, if I talked about my intended actions using their phraseology, the email I wrote would be less in line with my intent – a piece of delightful, useful content with value for us both – and more like the intent of the old-school model – shock and awe and get people anxious to buy.

Words frame intent. Words create our reality.

So if you want to break with a pardigm and blaze your own trail, quite often you’ll have to develop a new language as you go.

What words do you need to change? Share them in the comments!

If you want to be beguiled, world-rocked, enticed, served and offered wonderfulness, then clearly you need to be on that lost. It’s called Mo’Cash, Mo’Joy, and it is weekly awesomeness to your inbox.

Creative Commons License photo credit: M Glasgow

16 thoughts on “The contagiousness of language, or why I never want to “hit my list”

    1. Yes it is. All the language of “the list” is problematic – like it’s an amorphous mass that exists only to be exploited, like an oil reserve.

      Those are PEOPLE, dammit.

  1. I’m not sure.  My words were “I will be delighted to become wealthy by providing outstanding value to my friends”.  Many people pointed out that ‘friends aren’t (necessarily) customers’ and that I should change this language.  I’m still not sure whether I should or not.

    1. It depends on one key thing: does the idea of “friends” make it difficult for you to accept money for what you do? Or do ideas like “mates’ rates” and “I can’t possibly charge YOU” sneak in?

      If they don’t, then neato. You serve friends. Otherwise, it might be time to think of a word that straddles that relationship WITH money involved chasm.

    2. Rather than “my friends” (which I’m guessing, to those who objected, refers to reciprocal relationships of no-strings-attached love, fun, and support) maybe you could frame it as”people I adore”?  Would that keep some of the ease and love, yet have the cleanliness of a clear value-provision-for-money relationship with the bonus of an everyone-benefitting-from-mutual-enjoyment-of-one-another vibe?

  2. hitting anything is probably not what we want to do, although hitting the bottle might be fun from time to time – Michele has been singing your praises, looking forward to enjoying your wisdom more deeply!

    1. Lovely Jen! Hello!

      There are fun things to hit, but unless we’re starting an Entrepreneur’s Fight Club, people should never be one of them. 🙂

      P.S. Michele is ridiculously amazing.

  3. For me the word I ban from my language it engage.  It has become such a buzz (ohh there is another one) word – so popular and yet with very little meaning to what online courses should look and act like.

  4. This reminds me of this post by Kyeli, and the changes in my interactions with my cats now that I say ‘thank you’ instead of ‘good boy’ when they do what I ask.

    Your language affects your thinking and thus how _everything_ else works.

  5. My thoughts around my Muse-related services got a lot less scary once I changed the name from “Muse-poking” to “Muse-whispering”.

    Much more in line with what it actually is, and a lot less aggressive. Goodness knows, -I- don’t want to be poked – why on Earth would a Muse? :>

  6. I’d like to change “touch base” (a particular bug bear of mine, don’t know why, it just seems lame) and “catch up” – both seem to imply you’re making time for something that you fell obligated to do. I’d rather use a more sincere term, but I’ve not thought of something that works in two words. When I do, whatever it is, it will carry the meaning “a brief discussion regarding what we’ve each been doing since we last met”…

    1. Maybe “touching base” feels off because it makes the other person sound like an objective? I agree with you, it’s not something I’d want to hear.

      Personally I’d go for “drink in your deliciousness”, but that might be just me. 🙂

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