10 Horrid Words You Must Never Use (Plus, Win a Copy of Content Rules)

Here's a nauseating mix of nonsense terms that are far too common on the web, in blogs, in e-mail newsletters, in online training or in writing in general. They're collectively called "Frankenspeak," according to Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman, authors of the book Content Rules. The term is described on the Content Rules book website as "convoluted text that doesn’t sound like it was spoken by a human, but instead sounds like it was created in a laboratory." Handley and Chapman have launched a campaign to ban these words and phrases from "marketing, sales, corporate communications, business schools, blogs and boardrooms." Handley reveals what she considers the 10 most horrendous examples on the MarketingProfs Daily Fix Blog. Take note whether you're a blogger or in charge of writing anything, and never use these phrases again:
  1. Impactful
  2. Leverage
  3. Synergy
  4. Revolutionary (or innovative)
  5. Email blast
  6. Proactive
  7. Solution
  8. Buy-in (or other mashed up words like mission-critical or best-of-breed)
  9. Run it up the flagpole (or other ridiculous corporate-speak phrases like "eat your own dogfood" or "at the end of the day")
  10. Nazi (when not actually describing a Nazi member, i.e., "brand Nazi")

Looking for more advice on writing better? Check out 10 Commandments of Writing for the Web and request our free Perfect Blogging Checklist.

Win a Copy of Content Rules

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Contest time

[Update! Congratulations to Julie, who won the drawing for a signed copy of Content Rules by Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman. This contest may be over, but you're still welcome to keep sending examples of frankenspeak.] Make the leap from marketing-speak to respectable publisher on the web by following the advice in Content Rules, which you can win as part of Talance's Customer Appreciation Month festivities. We're taking the chance to say thanks for letting us work with you on your web and e-learning design and development. Entering is easy: just tell us below in the comments your favorite example of Frankenspeak, and your name will automatically go into the hat for the book drawing. Note: If you want even more hand-holding, you should check out our grammar gaffes contest, where we're giving away two hours' free communications consultation with Kyla Cromer. Deadline for entries is Jan. 30, 2012. We’ll pick one winner at random from all entries on Jan. 31, 2012 and will notify the winner via e-mail. You must leave your name and a correct e-mail address to qualify.

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