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Politically Correct Euphemisms Must Die

Posted By Kenneth Vogt On January 16, 2013 @ 2:00 pm In Small Business Operations | 9 Comments

politically correctHave you noticed a lack of true communication in the world today?

It’s not simply that there are so many who just plain lack the skills necessary to communicate effectively among the skilled, trained and experienced, there is a current trend to soften things up so much that clarity is obscured or even lost all together.

It shows up in academics, reporting, marketing, and even fiction.

I am sick of politically correct (PC) euphemisms. One that chaps my hide is calling problems “difficulties” or “challenges” or “opportunities” or any other safe-for-children-and-small-pets blather. A problem isn’t a challenge, it’s a problem.

Sure, it may also be difficult or challenging or what have you – but we lose something powerful when we just deflect what is right in front of us.

I once heard a company CEO say to a crowd:

“In the past, our product was sub-optimal from a performance standpoint.”

I was in the front row. My stunned look must have been priceless. Mr. CEO, I think what you meant to say is:

“Our product didn’t work.”

Here’s another:

“Six figures.”

What is that supposed to mean? Do we really think that the difference between 100,000 and 999,999 is insignificant? And don’t even get me started on “seven figures.”

Whew…

Okay, I’ve taken a deep breath now, sipped my chamomile tea, and pet my kitty. I’m fine…really. It sure was nice to get that off my chest though.

The message here is:  if you are going to communicate, speak with genuineness, write with clarity.

Obscuring your topic may seem like it is easing people into the flow, but it is rather lulling them to sleep — or on to something more interesting.

This is especially important when you are writing marketing copy. No one likes to be sold to, so you have a higher standard to meet when you are selling. If you are offering something that is a bonafide good value – you can afford to say so out loud. If you are finding the path of direct sincerity to be difficult, you may need to examine the value of your offering to see if it is up to par.

Speaking clearly does not give license for tactlessness. Honesty is not an excuse for rudeness. Communication is an art in that regard. But the beauty in art comes from its freedom.

Don’t get caught up in the current “rules” about how you are “supposed to” write or speak. If you check your intent and make sure you are on the side of your listener, reader, or dare I say prospect, then you will find the creativity will flow.

As a result, people will find you more understandable, more likable, and more trustworthy.

Political Correctness [1] Photo via Shutterstock


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[1] Political Correctness: http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-99161402/stock-photo-illustration-depicting-a-green-chalkboard-with-a-political-correctness-concept-written-on-it.html