Ditch the Business B*llocks

I love words. I love using them to express ideas. I love their power to connect people, to persuade and inform.

But I don’t love some words. Some words are awful.

Sometimes people are trying to sound clever and end up creating a new nonsensical word, like ‘Specifosification’ when they mean ‘Specificity’. That’s quite cute. What’s not cute is business jargon.

Again, maybe people use it to try and impress or to show that they’re in the know and a ‘member of the club’ but it’s not a club anyone would want to be in. There’s heaps of scientific evidence that using business jargon actually makes you sound like a bit of a twit. It excludes readers who haven’t got a clue what you’re writing about and there isn’t a subject on earth that can’t be expressed clearly.

What people do in their own homes is up to them but there’s never a place for business BS in copywriting – it goes against one of the fundamental Copywriting Commandments:

Thou shalt not use business speak, clichés, or big words

This is the kind of thing I’m talking about…

[SETTING: An office near you]

Boss: Right then people, we need to think outside the box here, really push the envelope if we’re going to turn things around.

Minion 1: Can’t we just pick off the low-hanging fruit like every other year?

Boss: No! I want you to dig deep, find that sweet spot where the magic happens.

Minion 1: I hear you. What methods do you suggest we employ?

Boss: By leveraging your skills I’m sure you can facilitate game-changing innovations and shift the paradigm. I don’t know what you’ve got in your box of tricks but you might find that blue-sky thinking helps to make sure that everyone is on the same page.

Minion 2: Oh, you mean, we should drill-down and work out what our core competencies are?

Boss: Yes, and make sure you’re all singing from the same song sheet.

Minion 3: Of course, rather than have staff drinking from the kool-aid you want them to have buy-in you mean?

Boss: You’ve nailed it. There are bound to be lots of moving parts but with a scalable solution you can move forward, utilise your learnings and establish best practice. It’s the only way to get your ducks in a row.

Minion 2: …and that’s the only way to a robust solution?

Boss: Exactly. At the end of the day, if we’re going to take things to the next level we’ll need to hit the ground running and be aware that there may only be a small window of opportunity.

Minion 3: Are there any actionable hacks we could implement to ameliorate the situation?

Boss: No, going forward you’re going to have to give 110%. So get your heads down and make hay while the sun shines!

Enough already! You get the picture and it ain’t pretty.

In copywriting:

  1. Always replace a long word with a shorter one if you can (it’s not dumbing down, it will sound better I promise).
  2. Avoid using business speak, it makes you sound like David Brent and no one wants to do that.
  3. Clichés are over-used and sound tired. Instead find an original way to get your exact meaning across and what you write will have far more impact.

If you need any help please touch base with me, we can take it offline and I’ll help you to facilitate a sea change in your communication.

And feel free to reach out and let me know which of your favourite buzzwords I’ve neglected to include!

Sally

2 thoughts on “Ditch the Business B*llocks

  1. Pingback: How to Make Your Copy More Convincing | WordNerd blog
  2. Pingback: Copywriting 101: Keep It Simple, Stupid!

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