Speak Your Prospect's Language

By Mark Feldstein

In 1998, the SEC adopted a rule requiring the use of plain English contained in certain filings and prospectuses. The goal of such rule was to help the layman understand the basic terms and languages that govern filings and listings of public companies.

They say what is good for the goose is good for the gander.

When talking to prospects or friends, often I find myself controlled by Internal Revenue code sections, acronyms for tax terminology like QBI income, Section 170 deductions, 163J reduction of benefits for interest expense, GILTI tax, BEAT tax, and the list goes on. The best way to explain yourself is to remember that the person you are talking to is not a skilled professional in your world of business.

Slow down, think about what your audience knows, and talk to them like they don’t know any acronyms or code sections. The best way to get engaged with a contact or networking source is to talk in the same language they speak. Talk slowly, and ask often if they understand. Use an example. when possible. to also provide clarity.

This approach will go a long way, as the prospect will become a client, and the client will value your time spent together, and will be eager to pick up the phone and call you with more questions. In the end, you will become a valuable resource.

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