Years ago, when I was new to D.C. and searching for a job, my friend (a human resources professional) and I hysterically laughed as we took turns verbally reading job descriptions in The Washington Post.
We’d substitute the language of the job posting with what we believed was the true intention of the post.
In other words, we did this:
|Job description language||What that really means|
|Seeking dedicated employee||=||expect to stay many late nights|
|Creative work environment||=||priorities change on a daily basis|
|Salaried||=||you won’t be paid for overtime|
Sometimes I think about that moment with my friend when I’m perusing the tables at auction galas.
At benefit auctions, our desire to be fun can sometimes eclipse the need to be practical. Cool your heels, Shakespeare! Write titles with a practical mindset.
In your live and silent auction displays, downplay titles that are creative or clever. Instead aim for being succinct and forthright.
In an instant, let your guests know what you’re offering.
For examples, take a look at these:
|What the title says||A better title|
|A romantic weekend||vs.||Two nights at the Ritz + breakfast|
|Fab for foodies||vs.||SoBe Food & Wine Festival (2 tickets)|
|Take me out to the ballgame||vs.||4 Diamond Club Nationals tickets|
You have a limited amount of time in which to market and sell items to your guests. Keeping in mind that most auction fundraisers run four or five hours, and that the auction items aren’t marketed onsite for much longer than two hours, we want to ensure our communication is clear.
It’s not easy to pare down the excess (I can also get caught up in the cuteness factor in writing), but straightforward titles are better for an auction environment.
Plain English versus prose wins the game.