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What’s on our minds?

Andrew Gaved
Editor at Large, Lyrical Communications

At this point in January, the national media seems to become obsessed with looking back to find the ‘most used phrases of 2023’ or alternatively the ‘words that became fashionable in 2023’. Those of us who write for a living know that a good reason that articles such as this are popular is because the work has already been done – the journalist doesn’t need to create anything afresh, they just need to trawl back through the archives to find the words and phrases that keep popping up.

One of the words that everyone wrote about was ‘rizz’, as it was named by the folks at Oxford Languages as its word of the year, based on its huge use in online and social media. If you, like me, had missed this word altogether, most probably because I am 57 rather than 17, let me remind you it is short for charisma.

It describes an important quality to our industry too. It clearly helps to have a bit of rizz if we are to communicate to customers and colleagues about a new technology or a new concept. Indeed, it will be those with a lot of rizz who we will all be looking for to present, debate, demonstrate and launch at InstallerSHOW in June.

Now I know the word, I fully intend to use it all the time and to encourage you to join me, I will award a prize for the first person I hear using the word in a proper sentence at the show.

But I think looking back on most commonly used phrases is a good exercise – and not just for the reason above. I think it gives us a bit of an insight into what has been on everybody’s minds in the last year and therefore, without getting too deep about it, what is concerning people. You won’t be too surprised to hear that ‘heat pumps’ is easily the most used phrase across the elemental and Installer platforms, closely followed by ‘net zero’ and ‘skills’. Interestingly ‘hydrogen’ has not been nearly in use as much as it was in previous years.

For me personally, however, I think the phrase that I have heard most across conversations and in our webinars is ‘educate’.

Time and time again, people have emphasised that education about a subject is needed because knowledge is what is lacking – and I have heard this said in reference to the general public, to specifiers and to the supply chains themselves. We all know that there is work to do to explain why a heat pump installation can be beneficial to householders for instance, but equally, there are plenty of heating installers who need convincing too.

And only this week on our Indoor Air Quality webinar, we agreed that there is a task ahead of us to educate building operators on the importance of better air quality for the occupants.

But this need for education gives us a challenge. I think we have arrived at a time where many different people need to absorb information about new technology, new techniques and new regulations, but where, for various reasons, those people are finding it difficult to take the new information on board.

These reasons include, to name a few: they don’t want to change the way they work; they are not convinced by the technology yet; they simply are unaware of the benefits of a new technique (or the challenges of a new piece of legislation); or they haven’t been approached in the right way.

You may have other reasons, but the challenge is clear: we need to find the right way to educate our customers and potential customers and this won’t be the same method for everyone. I think it gives us all something to think about at this particular point in time when there is so much new technology being developed and where often regulations are changing too. How do we get the message through to people who absorb their information in different ways: YouTube, TikTok, podcast, PowerPoint or brochure? It is as much a challenge for we in the media as it is for you marketing folk. But I think we can have fun rising to the challenge. There will be plenty of rizz required.

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