Forbidden Cliches

Recently, a favorite columnist of mine, Cheryl Hall from The Dallas Morning News, wrote an entertaining and compelling article entitled: “Buzzwords to Banish.” She builds a perspective relative to overused and often completely confusing words that have invaded our ‘business speak!’ She denounces cliches such as ‘at the end of the day,’ ‘killer app,’ ‘out of the box,’ ’24 x7,’ ‘vetting,’ ‘value proposition,’ and ‘drinking the Kool Aid.’  Then, she interviewed many influential executives in the Dallas area to get their take on this point of view. Their input was equally compelling and admonished the overuse of words which have no ‘real meaning’ or due to their overuse and misuse have diluted their impact.

So, to steal yet another buzz phrase from at least a 10 year old ad campaign,‘where’s the beef’ in this blog post?

My take on her position is simple: as a collection of people, we formally and informally glob onto words which have an implied meaning. Many times these assumed meanings may have little to do with what the words individually or even collectively mean literally. Yet, they become short-hand for communicating in business. And yes, as with all things, when overused, they can become worse than irrelevant. They become empty and benign.

So my ‘net-net’
… originality, authenticity, creativity, and expansion of our own vocabularies become the catalytic force for compelling and memorable communication.