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Saturday, November 3, 2012

Skip the buzzwords, use plain English | Bill Repp, The Commercial Appeal

A question from Ned:
I just joined a company and am overwhelmed with the buzzwords they use ("seamless," "robust," "deliverables.") Are these new tools for modern business, or can I just use plain English?
And the start of Repp's response (emphasis added):
It sounds like people in your company have jumped onto the jargon bandwagon, thinking it's a short cut to communicating clearly. It isn't. You'll probably have to learn the jargon just to get along. But many studies continue to prove the value of using simple, everyday words — and show the problems of using buzzwords and jargon. One good argument against jargon and buzzwords is that there's no clear meaning for them.
Repp continues with advice from communications trainer Dianna Booher, author of The Voice of Authority. And he adds a fun exercise for creating your very own statement of bureaucratic gobbledygook.

Here's another online resource -- Garbl's Concise Writing Guide -- to help make your writing easier to read and understand. My free guide provides alternatives to overstated, pompous words; wordy, bureaucratic phrases; and verbose, sometimes amusing redundant phrases.

Here's additional advice on clear, concise writing: Garbl's Plain English Writing Guide. It covers these seven steps:
  • Focusing on your reader and purpose
  • Organizing your ideas
  • Writing clear, effective paragraphs
  • Writing clear, simple sentences
  • Using suitable words
  • Creating an enticing design
  • Testing for clarity.
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Repp's article is featured today, Nov. 3, in Garbl's Plain English Paragraphs--available at the Plain Language tab above and by free email subscription.

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