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  • Writer's pictureRuss Powell

How would you say it differently?

Updated: Dec 21, 2022

Language is important. (And we all get lazy w/ it from time to time, eh?) A huge part of my work these days is paying attention to the words we use -- mostly I'm doing this to help work-teams understand and solve problems better. For example, "Someone should do something" is far less effective than "I can take care of that," or "Sarah, would you complete [insert task]?"

Along the way, I'm discovering that I have far more pet peeves around the language we use in business than I realized.

For example, I cringe every time I hear or read the word "utilize" b/c I'm thinking, "Yikes! Just use the word 'use.'"

Similarly, "verbiage" -- c'mon, just say "wording."

And passive voice, we use passive voice so much in our business conversations and writing. My hunch is we're mostly just trying to avoid accountability. Flip "a mistake was made" to "Phil made a mistake." Don't tell me "an investigation will be conducted." Who's conducting it? And when? "The supervisor will conduct the investigation... on Tuesday."

So, all this to ask you what are some of *your* favorite pet peeves that we use in business conversations and writing? And not just what are they, but what's your fix, your recommended alternative? How would you say it differently?


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