Buzzwords Are Bullshit
The latest bandwagon word is “codes,” presumably derived from the concept of downloading light codes… or whatever. I heard some astrologer/tarot readers start using that phrase on YouTube back in 2019. Low and behold, two years later here it is popping up as a cliche marketing gimmick in multiple spiritual business coach sales copy.
Cosmic Success Codes!
Business Starter Codes!
Don’t Become a Coaching Cliche
“If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit.”
One of the slimiest ad agency bosses I ever had once said this to me while explaining that the reason he drove a Cadillac was because people needed to believe that you are successful in order to believe your sales pitch – but they can’t think you’re TOO successful or they’ll hate you.
The skeevy salesman stereotype exists for a reason, and on instagram, it shows up as 20-something spiritual boss girls posting memes about hustle-culture and talking about integrating their vacations. These words and phrases aren’t any different than new agers commandeering words and phrases like quantum, density, or 3D and 5D: they are intentionally used to baffle people with bullshit because it’s easier to manipulate someone when they are confused.
Do you have any idea how many people message me when I talk about bullshit new age buzzwords and say, “I never knew what they were talking about. It always made me feel dumb or like I was out of the loop.”
And that’s exactly how you’re supposed to feel: like an outsider.
These words are used to make these people and these coaches appear as though they are in the know, like they have access some kind of exclusive knowledge that only they can impart to you, for the comparatively low investment of just one $500 online course.
Words Should Always Have Meaning
Agencies that do real branding do not just randomly tack on meaningless buzzwords to products and services. They develop brand bibles with brand dictionaries which actually define the meaning of any unconventional words or phrases that may be used as part of a product name or headline.
If you can’t define the word or phrase as a concept in a way that your audience can comprehend, and demonstrate how your business lives into that concept, then that word has no value and if it has no value, it’s meaningless to your audience.
Even in my day job as a science editor while writing about highly complex, technical topics like quantum technology, computational chemistry, and nanotechnology, we aim to write for an audience with the reading comprehension and scientific understanding of an eighth grader. That’s how we make sure that everything we are talking about is going to be fully understood by our audience, and you should make your content just as easy to understand.
More importantly, if a coach can’t describe what they do in accessible language, then it means that they, themselves, may not even fully understand what they do, and if they don’t fully understand what they do then how are they even doing it? And more importantly… WHY THE FUCK ARE THEY CHARGING SOMEONE FOR IT?
Oh, that’s right. Because they’re just another skeevy salesman hiding behind a heavily curated instagram account.
How to Consciously Build Trust with Your Social Media Followers
Make your content accessible to everyone in your audience by making it understandable to normal human beings. Buzzwords are bullshit – and while we’re at it, so is using overly intellectualized vocabulary that alienates anyone who doesn’t work in academia. Put down the thesaurus and step away from your ego.
I know of a business coach who teaches clients to intentionally use intellectual-sounding words in their copy to create the perception that they are intelligent, and thus increase authority. This only works because it triggers intellectual inferiority in readers and (falsely) makes them assume the writer must know what they are talking about, which may not actually be the case.
These kinds of subtle manipulations are small on an individual level, but when they are implemented throughout your marketing and advertising messaging and in your one-to-one interactions with clients, they add up to a whole lot of mind fuck.
You build trust with your audience when you stop excluding people by making them feel inferior with indecipherable language. Meet people where they are, on their level. They’ll appreciate you for it.
That’s the number one piece of fan mail I get in my inbox. And look! I didn’t even charge you $500.
A conscious business owner or practitioner strives for authenticity in every aspect of their being, and that includes their marketing messaging. A trauma-informed business owner or practitioner seeks to eliminate anything from their business that may use shame or coercive language that triggers a trauma response. The use of straightforward explanations and language makes your content more broadly appealing, more trustworthy, and more accessible –– and it makes you a safer container for a traumatized nervous system.
Gimmicks and the intentional use of a thesaurus to make yourself sound smarter than you actually are is as inauthentic as it comes. If it were up to me, we’d burn all the marketing gimmicks to the ground. Authenticity doesn’t need a gimmick, and most of them are cheesy as hell, anyway.
PS: If you found today's topic intriguing and you're an entrepreneur or practitioner who offers services to others, I would recommend checking out my articles on conscious business and subscribing to get notified when there are new posts. Learn how you can work with me here and be sure to check out my new online course, Ethical Entrepreneurship.
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