Thursday, June 23, 2011

The damage caused by corporatespeak

In a June 2005 review of Don Watson’s book Death Sentences, Leigh Buchanan paraphrases Mr. Watson’s warnings about the damage caused by corporatespeak:

“By relying on a common, largely abstract vocabulary, companies miss the chance to differentiate themselves. By omitting empathy and directness from their marketing, they fail to bond with customers. By avoiding the concrete and the specific, they raise suspicions at a time of pervasive mistrust. And by condoning sludgy writing, they succumb to sludgy thinking. (After all, if you don’t have to say what you mean, you don’t have to know what you mean.) Such language is a disability, preventing corporations from conducting intelligent, nuanced conversations with employees and customers.” (Emphasis in original.)

The Takeaway: A professional writer should always be consciously aware of the diction he is using. If a freelance assignment (or your full-time job) requires you to write in corporatespeak, so be it. Just remember that it is corporatespeak, or it will eventually contaminate everything else you write.

See disclaimer.

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