“When it comes to the various facets of PR and communications, describe what you’re going to do in clear, simple and effective terms and leave the buzzwords at home,” Matthew Schwartz of PR News recently posted. Schwartz listed “5 Words and Phrases to Delete From Your PR Vocabulary,” and although they’re applicable far beyond just PR professionals’ use, I enjoyed his list and can add a few of my own.
Schwartz wrote that saying “to be honest with you” and “frankly” is insincere and “people being spoken (to) are often made to feel like they may not understand what’s being said.” On his list was “moving forward” (“Who has ever been in the business of moving backward?”) and “value proposition” (“popular in boardrooms…but the term doesn’t mean anything”). Schwartz said popular corporate word “synergy” is very ’90s and we should lose it from our vocabulary already.
I knew a PR guy who began every third sentence with “The fact of the matter is…” Another I know ends almost every sentence with, “OK?”, seeking validation for what he just said. And I’ve had one than more boss or colleague who would constantly begin with “At the end of the day…” which is another way of saying “The bottom line is…” (I’m guilty of this one). Both overused and annoying, indeed.
And then there’s the 14-to-20 somethings–more often female–who pepper every sentence with “like.” I’m not sure why this is, how it started or why it eventually seems to go away, but it’s there and it’s annoying to the adult ear. And that’s a bit of a problem when it’s time for the job interview. I’ve actually coached students to become aware of their use of “like” because it tends to make them sound less intelligent, which they are not.
How we express our thoughts verbally and in writing create impressions on our profession and ourselves. PR catch phrases such as ‘integrated marketing,” “value added,” “out of the box,” and “elevator speech” aren’t aging well and should probably be eliminated. Which words and phrases would you like to see deleted? Your, like, thoughts?