The difference a good name makes to freelance projects

It’s often the difference between success and failure, or ‘yes please’ and ‘no thanks’ – naming a product, naming a project, naming a team, naming whatever, writes Kay White, of mentoring and communications advisory Way Forward Solutions. So what’s in a name? The answer is the giving of something that is compelling, inviting; is something that people either want, want to aim for or find interesting.

Action words which entice

Advertisers and marketing specialists are constantly looking and listening for words that compel, persuade, attract and interest us.You only have to think about how ads draw us in, give us the ‘why’ and the ‘what’s in it for us’ in a bid to persuade us to buy:

  • Coca-Cola – the Real Thing;
  • Adidas – Right here, Right now;
  • Levis – Freedom to move

Multi-billion pound industries thrive on finding exactly the words to motivate us into action.

Think about it.Which of the following projects would your freelance business rather be a part of?

  • ‘Maximising Our Income’ or ‘Cutting Spending and Costs’
  • ‘Online to Win’ or ‘2011 – Less Downtime’
  • ‘Getting It Right’ or ‘Avoiding Mistakes’

I’m pretty sure that you, like me, would want to be part of the first ones.

Choose 'Towards' over 'Away-Froms'

The first projects are all “towards” driven. They give us the suggestion, the hint of what the outcome is, what we’re going or aiming for. The second ones, by contrast, are all “away froms”, things to avoid or things to fear. Although “away froms” are great influencers – we all want to avoid pain in whatever form it takes – to get people to attend an event or a meeting that only speaks to their pain is far less attractive.Encapsulate the outcome, name it something interesting or compelling.

Hell awaits those who name names lightly

But be careful. I will never forget the name which a client’s company had given to a special new project, designed to bring teams together at lunchtime with in-house experts sharing their knowledge over a sandwich. They called it HELL. Loads of time and energy had gone into creating a special Educational Lunchtime Learning project and the company’s name began with H. Apparently the boss said ‘let’s have a bit of a laugh’ and they called it project HELL. “Who’s going to HELL at lunchtime?” or “I can’t make it today, I’m going to HELL”.

The more serious point here is that after the initial giggle or smirk that it brought, no one wanted to go to such a meeting.Attracting people to become involved or be a contributor to a HELL lunch was a struggle from the off. The project ultimately flopped within a few weeks and was scrapped.It could just as easily been called “Listen, Lunch and Learn” or “Meet and Eat” – both more enticing, ‘hooky’ and interesting. And while everyone knows that the essence is still the same, the actual names of things are so critical to their success. They have to attract us.

Is your radar tuned in?

So, just as we need to carefully consider how influential and attractive the language is we use to write emails, send out proposals, leave voicemails and all the myriad of ways we’re communicating everyday – we also must have our radar tuned to the actual name we give to things – it makes the difference between HELL – and Heaven.

Oh and don’t think this only applies in business. My husband was encouraging his 4-year old godson to ‘come and see this old, dead tree.’ I knew an ‘old, dead tree’ was far less enticing than ‘an amazing magical tree.’ Which one do you think he went for?

Article, reproduced with permission, by Kay White, communications expert and mentor at . Kay shows professionals how to get quicker more profitable results and build stronger connections by becoming a more effective, influential and savvy communicator. Kay’s first book, The A to Z of Being Understood is a Number 1 Amazon Bestseller for Customer Service.




11th August 2011

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