Select the right words. Say them well.


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The most fun in writing the Monthly Memo is seeing something happen in the marketplace and then being it able to share it.Such is the case with this Memo, based on the conversations I’ve witnessed over the last few weeks and then thinking about what it means for the bigger world. (That’s why this is different than Twitter or a quick social media post. The goal is to provide value beyond the ‘quick hit’ world we all probably spend too much time living around.)

So, why are Translators the secure jobs of now and into the future? Well, with each passing year we have people with greater and greater expertise and training making more and more of the major decisions impacting us every day. Whether it is in technology, finance, investments, global business, science or medicine, smart people with highly specialized knowledge are in rooms deciding what our lives will look like for years to come.

Here’s the problem.

Very few of the rest of us have the foggiest idea what they’re talking about! That’s where the Translator steps in. Smart people can come up with all kinds of great new developments and world-changing advancements, but if nobody understands what they’re talking about, the whole plan stops dead. It’s critical that another smart person (maybe even a smarter person?) steps in and translates these great ideas into something we all can understand. So just who are these magical people?

What does a Translator look like? Sometimes the first line of translators are those highly prized Executive Assistants and 1st Lieutenants who are in the room when the sausage is being made. They watch the process and know they’ll be asked by the rest of the team to make sense of what just took place. Recently I spoke with a high level “special assistant to the boss” who wasn’t clear on the ‘new plan.’ After asking around it was obvious NOBODY could explain the ‘new plan.’ So, this person went back and dug into the details once again – and then again – until they could really understand it. (I didn’t say being a Translator is easy…) The Translator is tenacious, a good listener and patient – they ask a lot of questions and they have access to the creators so the answers can be unearthed. Often they are good with analogies, saying things like, “Oh, this is like…” so that a broader group begins to understand the concept.

What jobs do they occupy? Besides the above job descriptions, Translators can be PR professionals, advertising experts, marketers, salespeople and generalists who show a special skill at seeing the big picture. No matter what hat you happen to wear, if you show a skill at making sense out of ‘tech speak’ or ‘Wall Street garble’ or ‘research-eze’ you will have job security for as long as you need it. Translators understand the rest of the world and how we think – and therefore they can take their insider view and magically turn it into something that makes sense to us.

One final point. If you know someone with great, detailed knowledge AND the ability to tell the story to a wider audience you have found a truly unique and very special person!

Cary Pfeffer is the founder of ClearComm Consulting,, a Phoenix, AZ-based communications consulting firm which is helping people tell their story. He works with clients to make the most of their media and live audience communication. Email him at: