When I’m doing seminars, I often ask each participant to say — in one sentence – what they do.

And it is amazing how many people cannot do this.

Particularly people in technical fields – such as software companies, for example – often have trouble saying what they do in simple terms that make it easy for the average person to understand what they do and for whom they do it.

This often translates into marketing that is way too complicated. Computer companies continue to include technical specs in their advertising, for example, that almost no one among their customers truly understands. Most people have no idea what the difference is between one processor or another, what a gigabyte is or why any product is named using numbers with decimals.

Might you be doing the same thing in marketing yourself?

Take a look at your marketing materials, including your business card, story cards, and web descriptions.

Tighten up the writing by reducing the number of words and using smaller words instead of big ones. Show the copy to a 5th grader and ask them to point out anything that doesn’t make sense or seems complicated.

Check out the wonderful classic The Elements of Style by Strunk and White to learn how to write effectively.

If your marketing is unnecessarily complicated, you might be losing the interest of people who pass over your marketing materials to find something much easier to read. That’s when too smart is dumb.

Keep them with you by being clear and concise!