Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Talking the Talk - What Does It Really Accomplish?

By Stephanie Welsh, PPI Social Media Consultant
It's hard to think of an industry that doesn't have its own jargon and acronyms and slang.  When you join a new industry, it feels like people are speaking a different language, but gradually you start to clue in  and even throw in a few acronyms and try out a piece of jargon once in a while.  Over time,  it becomes common place to use the jargon and acronyms.  In fact, it makes you feel like you fit in, like you're part of an exclusive club.
The only time you think twice about the way you speak about your job, your passion, your industry, is when you're at a party or the dinner table and you look around to see that everyone is listening but their expressions clearly say "what are you talking about?"  That's when you realize you have to find a way to talk to people outside your industry or you'll be talking to yourself.

Annie Leonard, a Berkeley activist focused on the environment, is doing an incredible job speaking to people outside the environmental sector.  She's no longer using language that restricts her to the activist or environmentalist "clubs", she's talking to EVERYBODY.   And she's doing it in a way that is catching people's attention.  Her web video, "The Story of Stuff" has been viewed by more than 12 million people.  You can read more about Annie Leonard in the LA Times:,0,2775603,full.story

Here at Product Policy Institute, we work on Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), also known as Product Stewardship.  Whether you use the full words or the acronym, it's hard for people to understand exactly what it means.  There are moments when it's hard to describe what Extended Producer Responsibility is without getting into jargon and geek-speak.  
Have you ever tried to explain EPR to someone who knew nothing about it?  How did you do it?  What words seemed to make your point?  Did you use an analogy?  Did you see a spark of understanding?
We'd love to hear from you about how YOU speak about EPR and Product Stewardship.  Comment below and tell us your EPR explanation stories.  Not only are we listening to what Annie Leonard has to say, but we're paying close attention to how she says it and how effective she is.

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