Welcome to The Rachel Kurzyp Show.
This is going to be part 1 of a 2 or 3 part series where I share words or phrases that I see every day in the online business space that are unethical, culturally inappropriate, or problematic in some way.
I’ll explain why they are problematic and what you can say instead. My hope is that by having open discussions like this about language that we can create more inclusive, accessible and safe spaces online.
If you have a word that you’d like me to cover in part 2 or 3 of this series, send me a DM on Instagram. My handle is @rachel_kurzyp.
I will premise this episode by saying that as a white, cisgender and non-disabled person there is a lot that I’m still learning and unlearning.
So I encourage everyone listening this episode to do their own research and seek out BIPOC and non-binary leader, creators and business owners who are doing the work in this space. I will share details of people who I have been learning from at the end of this post.
Ok, let’s dive in.
This first word you should remove from your copy is for my White listeners.
Terms like “Queen”, “King” and “Yas Queen,” originated from black and black queer culture. Now, many white female business owners are using this word to address their predominantly white community.
Why is this wrong? Well for many, this is seen as cultural appropriation as it takes the good things that are associated with the word such as power, resilience, beauty and general endearment while ignoring the context in which the word was created; that is black people have been treated like and told they are less than other human beings for hundreds of years.
Black people call each other Queens and Kings to lift their community up and it serves as a reminder of Black American’s history in Africa before slavery.
So I would encourage you to do your own research into the definition, how the word is used by Black People and its origin so that you can be informed because Queen isn’t the only word White people have appropriated.
This phrase is used all the time and while it may look harmless, it’s actually rooted in bro-marketing culture and unethical marketing tactics.
People use the phrase as a way of saying that their offer, opportunity or product is so great and aligned with what their audience needs that they should act instantly.
Encouraging our audience to make a purchase without consideration is unethical. It doesn’t matter if it’s a $27 product or a $10k coaching program, we should want our dream clients to take the time to decide if the investment is right for them.
Low course completion rates, unwatched masterclasses and low-cost products that are never downloaded are symptoms of a bro marketing culture that promotes false scarcity and instant gratification.
So instead of using the phrase no brainer alongside a countdown timer and calling it a day, take the time to share why you created the offer, how it supports your dream clients and the results they can expect if they buy.
That way they can make an informed and empowered decision. If you truly care about supporting your clients, giving them all the information they need is kinda no brainer right?
“Build your empire.” How many times have we heard that phrase in the online business world before?
This is why you shouldn’t use it.
The definition of empire is a number of individual nations that are all controlled by the government or ruler of one particular country.
So many countries around the world we’re invaded and colonized for example The British Empire colonised India, Singapore, USA, and Australia to name a few. And in doing so, killed and displaced First Nations and Indigenous communities and took many as slaves. These people are still fighting for their rights and land to this day.
So for many people around the world, the word Empire holds a very different meaning from the 6-figure salary definition in the business world.
Instead of using Empire as a catch all, use specific language that describes the type of business or lifestyle your clients wish to have. I use words like sustainable, ethical and profitable.
If I can do it, so can you
Like no brainer, this phrase seems harmless but in actual fact it is ignoring the diversity of our clients and their experiences and assumes everyone has been afforded the same privileges in life. Which we know is just not the case.
Age, gender, ethnicity, education, language, income, location, disability, mental health and so on all impact our ability to do our jobs and run our businesses. When we use statements like “If I can do it, so you can you,” we run the risk of alienating members of our community and contributing to a system that stigmatizes individuals and groups for example all fat people are lazy while automatically affording privilege to others. And the last thing we want to do is add to or cause more trauma.
Instead of using privilege-led phrases like this, state what the result is with tangible examples and use phrases like: results like this may be possible for you or I’d love to support you to achieve similar results.
Gender inclusive language is really important for making our community feel welcomed, accepted and safe. It’s an easy change to make and it can have profound effects on society as a whole.
For many of us, using words and phrases like you guys, female CEO, mankind has been part of our personal and collective lexicon for years. So we use these words out of habit and don’t even register we’ve said them or written them until someone else points them out.
It takes time to break a habit so if you say them, correct yourself and keep speaking. And make a note of the gender-specific words you use so you can remove them in the editing process. Replace them with gender-inclusive words like everyone, team, CEO, spokesperson and humankind in your communication.
If you’re using any of these words or phrases, you don’t have to make a formal public apology or edit all of your Instagram posts from the past 12 months.
Instead, put aside time to do a content, sales and branding audit to ensure what you are sharing with your community is inclusive and the way in which you are sharing is ethical.
Remember we’re all learning and unlearning so don’t be hard on yourself or others. Now that you know, you can support your clients and community to make changes to their copy too.
Ethical sales and marketing is one of the reasons why my clients choose to work with me. If you want support to create a human-first business, then I’d love to speak with you.
I have a few 1:1 coaching spots left in 2021. Use this link to book a discovery call so we can chat through the ways I can support you to build a sustainable and profitable business.Thanks so much for tuning into today’s episode.
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