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Break the Business Buzzword Addiction

Eliminating jargon and unnecessarily complex language can do you--and your company--a world of good. Here's how.

At the end of the day, drilling down to a seamless integration of your company's harvesting efficiencies will get your ducks in a row and optimize your synergy of communication. 

Got it? Neither does anyone else.

It's easy to get sucked into industry or office-specific jargon. But complicated words and phrases only clutter your message, according to Bryan A. Garner, a lawyer and lexicographer who has written several books about English usage and style, in a recent HBR blog post. Your best bet is to keep things simple and straightforward, and use as few words as possible. Garner added:

Bizspeak may seem like convenient shorthand, but it suggets to readers that you're on autopilot, thoughtlessly using boilerplate phrases that they've heard over and over. Brief, readable documents, by contrast, show care and thought--and earn people's attention.

An especially easy trap to fall into is a well-meaning one: using unnecssarily complex phrases in an attempt to sound professional and polite. But many of these expressions are actually counterproductive, and rather eye roll inducing. Here are five of the worst, along with Garner's suggested translations:

Change this

At your earliest convenience

We are in receipt of

Thank you for your courtesy and cooperation regarding this matter.

Please be advised that the deadline for the above mentioned is April 1.


Thank you in advance for your courtesy and cooperation in this regard. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions regarding this request.

...into this

As soon as you can

We received

Thank you

 

The deadline is April 1.

 

Thank you. If you have any questions, please call.

"Start looking for bizspeak in all kinds of documents, from memos to marketing plans, and you'll find it everywhere," writes Garner. "You'll eventually learn to spot it--and avoid it--in your own writing."

 

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IMAGE: Getty Image
Last updated: Mar 22, 2013

JULIE STRICKLAND | Staff Writer

Julie Strickland covers start-ups, small businesses, and entrepreneurial endeavors of all kinds for Inc. Her work has been published in Brooklyn Based and City Limits in New York, the Free Times in Columbia, SC, Real Travel Magazine in London, and Daegu Pockets in South Korea. She lives in New York City.




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