Creative industry folks, just like those in other fields, get wrapped up in our work and tend to create our own mini-language. In marketing and communications, we are very much guilty of this, although we can be painfully unaware of it. For example:
Client: “Our Big Data Rock Star ideated a cloud-based, scalable, native programmatic tool set that produced excellent learnings.”
Me: “Well, it sounds like he took it to the next level … efforting 110% to craft a best practices, robust solution you can leverage, and it’s clearly out of the box thinking … but maybe you shouldn’t try to boil the ocean … it’s got a lot of moving parts and I’m not sure it’s something you want to take ownership of. … You might be accused of punching the puppy, so the optics are all wrong. We should probably put this in the parking lot.”
That’s a pull-out from a Shelly Palmer article in Ad Age – which I find both accurate and highly amusing. In “My Banned Words for 2017”, he lists different words and sayings that he just doesn’t want to hear anymore. I couldn’t agree more with some of his suggested bans, like the phrase “disrupt ourselves”, which is just plain icky.
For good measure, I thought I would add a few sayings that I wish would just go away:
- “No problem” in response to a simple request or ‘Thank you’ (in business or in personal life ) – instead saying ‘You’re welcome” or ‘Sure thing’ or anything else. I didn’t think whatever I asked or thanked you for WAS a problem, so keep it simple and clear.
- “Sounds good” instead of a clear agreement with any number of words that connote agreement: “Yes! You bet! Sure thing we’ll meet at 8:00 tomorrow morning! Alright, I concur/agree/yepper to the meeting notes!”. Let’s please be, wait for it, simple and clear in our language. Let’s reserve ‘sounds good’ for something that actually does: wonderful music, children laughing, skate blades on a cold pond (can you tell I’m Canadian, eh?) or birdsong.
- “Growth hacking”— jeez, every business needs to grow, and it’s not about hacking it. It’s about marketing, communications and sales. Just say ‘grow business’.
Okay, I feel better now that I’ve said my piece. Click here to read Palmer’s article, and just try not to flinch while going through some of his list.
What word or saying would you use a magic wand to make disappear forever? Comment below!