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Words you need to ditch from your vocabulary

Why is it that people tend to think that using big words and complicated sentences make them sound smarter?

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Why is it that people tend to think that using big words and complicated sentences make them sound smarter?

I’m not by any means discouraging colourful language – I know plenty of people that are able to use irony and metaphors quite well in every day speech. I’m simply reminding everyone to sound more like a human and ease up on the overused industry jargon.

Here are some words and phrases that are used in a haphazard path of communication (see what I just did there?)

Leverage
Former verb, now a noun. Others have been caught first hand throwing it around without knowing what it means. Try influenced instead.

The best
Whenever I see any brand or person using this in a context describing them, I immediately stop paying attention. Says who? Why? It sounds fairly amateur make this sort of claim.

Revolutionary
It’s highly unlikely that a new shaving cream or car tires can be compared to the fall of the Berlin Wall or collapse of communism in the USSR. People often use this term to describe products that usually aren’t. This isn’t to say that a new car model that is environmentally friendly isn’t revolutionary but don’t throw the term around.

Anything -centric
Customer-centric, health-centric, family-centric, everything-centric. Instead of adding –centric after every product you offer or your core values, make it more human. Try something along the lines of “we offer you free trials and money back guarantee” instead of saying “we are customer-centric”.

Consumer
Maybe I’m biased and in denial but I really dislike being referred to as a consumer. In all this “social media” hype of developing connections with your markets, I feel it’s a little dehumanizing and impersonal. People, brand friends, even buyers…. Anything but c*******.

Brand Nazi
People often pair shock value offensive terms to make a greater impact. It’s a tricky situation because you never know who you might be talking to and their level of sensitivity.

Guru
With the easy access to the internet, everyone and their grandma claim they’re now some sort of guru (usually social media related). With that being said, there truly are a few industry leaders but yet again the word has lost its meaning.

And some concepts to go along with the words….

Phrases that don’t make sense
For some odd reason, there’s a vast number of corporate speak phrases that just don’t make sense. “Peel back the onion” and “when the rubber meets the road” are just some of the examples. They’re irrelevant and often no one usually knows what they mean.

Unnecessary abbreviations
It just sounds like a bad episode of a valley girl show, or makes you seem like your attention span is so short you can’t even finish a word.

Irrelevant pop culture references
There’s a time and a place for everything and it’s most likely that referencing Jersey Shore in your IBM pitch is not a good idea. Common sense but you’d be surprised the types of stories that come up in the board room!

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