I want to share with you a line from a Facebook message I received a few days ago. I have a lot of folks reaching out to me to tell me about their product or service asking me if I would promote it to my Facebook fans. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. It really comes down to what the person is promoting and if it makes sense for my audience, i.e. is this something they would like to hear? I know your time is valuable and you are taking the time to read this blog, so I don’t want to clutter it with things that won’t be of value to you.
So I get the following Facebook message “We’re looking for companies and individuals who can openly declare that they are happy to deal with LGBT people.” In the message was a link to their website. The website appeared to be some kind of LGBT directory of businesses who support the community. There are a lot of directory websites out there so it’s hard to tell which are good quality and which are folks who are spamming the web and trying to make a quick buck with advertising on the website.
However, my assessment of the validity of this website was not in question – I didn’t even get that far. The statement “We’re looking for companies and individuals who can openly declare that they are happy to deal with LGBT people” stopped me dead in my tracks. I’m hoping that you are reading this and seeing the issue at hand. Using a phrase like ‘happy to deal with LGBT people’ is a terrible expression to use if you are trying to do business with the community. I imagine there was good intent behind what this person was sending me but really, deal with LGBT people is your choice of wording? I would highly recommend not using anything of that sort in any communication or marketing outreach with the LGBT community. Or any community for that matter. Saying something like dealing with sends a signal that this is a chore or a duty, not something fun. You have to deal with the bills, you have to deal with a screaming toddler, you have to deal with the teenagers loitering in your neighborhood. None of these things sound positive, do they?
So if you are reaching out to LGBT folks and companies that support the community, you might want to try a phrase like “We’re looking for companies and individuals who openly declare their support for doing business with the LGBT community.” That sounds much better than, “We’re looking for companies and individuals who can openly declare that they are happy to deal with LGBT people”, doesn’t it? Yeah, that’s what I thought too.