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The Best Language Communication for Connecting With Your Audience

August 27, 2014 9:52 am

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The Best Language Communication for Connecting With Your Audience

language communicationFor starters let’s clarify what the term ‘language communication’ means.

The primary element is the language itself: English, Spanish, Portuguese, etc.

In most North American markets, this is a non-issue—the default language is English.

Here in Toronto, although English is certainly the most commonly spoken language it is not automatically the language of choice for doing business. There are more than 100 different languages actively spoken on a daily basis.

Nature Of the Language Communication

The second element is the nature of the language: formal, technical, slang, colloquial, etc.

As a law student, my classmates and I occasionally visited a nearby pub after evening classes. One evening another patron discovered that we were law students and wanted us to talk legal talk. After some questioning, we realized that what he wanted was for us to speak Latin.

Like most law schools in North America, ours did not offer courses in Latin so we had to improvise.

We started with all the Latin phrases for legal principles that we could think of and started inventing more. Our new friend loved it and started buying rounds of drinks to keep the legal talk flowing.

That was one person’s view of legal talk, using bizarre Latin phrases a language communication.

Another view of legal talk came from my first client as an articling (interning) student who came to the firm for a simple will.

Once he had provided the relevant information, I explained that our fee for wills was based on the number of pages (a concept that still doesn’t make sense to me) and asked if he wanted a short will or a longer version.

At the time the most common will was about three pages long. In a legal drafting course in school, we had been given the assignment of reducing the length of this version to a single page, while ensuring the legal integrity of the document. When the client chose the short option, I used as a precedent, he version that I had developed as a student.

When I presented the will to my client, his face fell. When I asked about the problem, he explained that it didn’t have any of that legal stuff “give, devise and bequeath”, “name, designate and appoint” “hereunder set my hand” etc.

Fortunately the secretary who prepared the will was also uncomfortable with the short version so prepared a standard three-page version, ‘just in case’. My client loved it.

The Best Language

As a practicing lawyer, my language communication was different if I was communicating with other lawyers, government departments or agencies, sending a ugly demand on behalf of a client, or reporting to a client.

Never did these communications include legal talk in Latin. Sometimes they were very formal and technical (to other lawyers), excessively wordy ( to government departments and agencies), threatening (demand letters on behalf of clients) or friendly an cordial (reporting to clients).

Then as now, the language communication was chosen to suit the circumstances. Educational language is not always the same as promotional language and instructional language is not the same as language that enhances and builds relationships.

Invariably, the best language communication is the language that best helps achieve your goals.

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