Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Selling and the Queen's English beware the Royal We #election2015

“There is no such thing as ‘the Queen’s English. The property has gone into the hands of a joint stock company and we own the bulk of the shares!” 
-  Mark Twain.

Yesterday Her Majesty sent out this proclamation :-


Whereas We, and with the advice of Our Privy Council, being desirous and resolved , as soon as maybe, to meet Our People and to have their advice, in Parliament, do publish this , Our Royal Proclamation, and do hereby make known to all Our loving Subjects  Our Royal Will and Pleasure to call a new Parliament to be holden at Westminster  on Monday the eighteenth of May next: And We do hereby also by this Our Royal Proclamation under Our Great Seal of Our Realm , require Write to be issued by Our Chancellor of Great Britain for Causing the Lords Spiritual and Temporal who are to serve in the said Parliament  to give their Attendance in Our said Parliament on the said date.

Given at our court at Buckingham Palace, this thirtieth day of March in the Year of our Lord two thousand and fifteen and in the sixty-four year of Our Reign.

I have tried to copy this out as accurately as I could. There is much more use of capital letters than in ‘normal’ English. 

You will notice that the royal ‘We’ is used. 

The Sovereign uses the plural pronoun. Apparently Its first recorded use was in 1169 when King Henry II, hard pressed by his barons over the Investiture Controversy, assumed the common theory of "divine right of kings", that the monarch acted conjointly with the deity. Hence, he used "we", meaning "God and I..." ( later this 'right' was to lead to Civil War )

A proof that Mark Twain’s point of whose property English belongs to is exemplified.  The Language is arguably ‘owned by joint stock companies’ but regrettably we don’t ‘ own the bulk of the shares!’

 My Microsoft Word programme when copying the above proclamation puts a red squiggly line under the world ‘holden’ .

The entire last description of where the proclamation was made and when it was delivered receives a green squiggly line.  ( Proof, if it were really needed that the USA and UK are divided by a language ;)  !!)

Selling Lesson from Election 2015 : How we use English in Selling.

In 1989, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, was met with disdain in the media for using the 'royal we' when announcing news that she had become a grandmother.

  1.      If anybody is to be ‘King or Queen’ in business, let it be your customer.  As sellers we should use the  ‘We’ word sparingly so that our communication does not come across as patronising or arrogant. We do not have a 'Divine' right. E.g. rather than “we have pleasure in enclosing...” try turning it around , possibly something like “  you asked me to send you “
  2.   A useful tip is to use the words You, Your  and You’ll more often than We, Our or me /I and mine
  3.  In Selling English it is not just what we say or write to clients but also how we say or write it.

I'll finish with some ore words of Mark Twain appropriate for this time of electioneering in the UK.

 “Politicians and diapers must be changed often, and for the same reason.”

― Mark Twain

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