Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Write like you speak. OK…maybe not exactly like you speak.

By: Susan Finco, President, Leonard & Finco Public Relations

I recently received an email from a sports marketing consultant who was promoting professional athlete appearances in the business world. But after the first two sentences, I couldn’t stop thinking about the ridiculous language the writer was using. The writer was apparently going for the jackpot in using every buzz word in the business world. Here is just one of the lines:  “We would like to discuss the development of strategic professional athlete synergy appearances to help leverage the power of sports and entertainment to reach your targeted audiences."  Other buzz words liberally used throughout the four paragraph pitch for the firm’s services included:  critical integration, optimum engagement, effective strategies, business specific objectives, delving deeper into the game and enhancing revenue. And many of these words were used multiple times.

Really? Who talks like this? I get what you’re trying to say, but why can’t you say it in plain English? OK, I can hear someone saying, “But I want the reader to know I understand what their business is looking for and wants to accomplish.” If you must, sprinkle in a current buzz word du jour or two, but leave it at that. Otherwise, it looks like you’re trying way too hard to prove how smart you are.

I understand that everyone has their own definition of what good writing is all about. To me, it’s being clear and concise; and it should read like you would talk. (Unless you’re writing an academic paper, because writing like you talk in that case would probably result in a failing grade.) 
So, what do you think about the buzz word filled approach to messaging? Does it work for you? Are there any buzz words that you like to use and why? Love to hear your thoughts.

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