Those of us in the marketing/public relations business are well aware that the foundation of communication is good writing. If you can’t write, then don’t think of a career in PR.
That being said, there are a number of overused words, phrases and grammatical symbols that we need to retire. They don’t have to be put away permanently, just used when necessary.
And I just used one.
“That being said…” is so overused and meaningless that, well, we need to stop. We say it after we make a statement that is to be followed by another statement that contradicts it. If we make a statement, why do we need to state that we made a statement?
Here are some other words that need to go:
“Space.” “Our firm works in the digital space.” Hua? In other words, your company is an expert in online work. When did “space” define work?
“Transparency.” This word is used only about a billion times a day, most often by news personnel and politicians. Everybody wants “transparency” which simply means full disclosure. Issues can’t be transparent. Glass can.
“Could care less.” This is a simple grammatical mistake. When people say they “could care less” they are saying they do care. They mean they don’t care and in that case, it should be “couldn’t care less.”
“Best.” How many emails do you get that end with the word “best.” What the writer means is “all the best” which has been shortened to best. Either way it is meaningless. If you’re writing to someone who is not an enemy, what else would you say, “worst?”
“In all honesty.” Again, an email useless term to begin a thought. When you want to make a statement that you feel is serious, some lead with “in all honesty” which is meant to warn the reader that the writer is about to contradict them or offer a different opinion. “I want to say this to you, but in all honesty, I need to say that.” A waste of time writing and reading those words.
I could go on and on and will in future posts. If we took all our emails and removed the unnecessary words and phrases, we’d all have a lot more time on our hands.