a blog with cultural bulimia.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Remove these words from your vocabulary.

This was suggested as business etiquette but I believe we all would benefit from trying to apply it to all our social relations.
ie. “I just think this design is what you should do.”
The problem as I’ve seen it with just is that it provides no factual or substantiated weight to your point. Rather, it makes your statement less important, as if there is no certain thought behind your statement at all. Most often we use the word in conjunction with the word think, which can be the most damaging from the client’s point of view.

ie. “I honestly don’t know how that pixel got moved.”
I love the word honest. Honestly I do! In fact, I used to use it all the time, but what I have found is that when most people hear the word honest, they immediately think dishonest or lying. I think many clients also associate the word with sales, and the last thing a client wants to do is buy from a salesman, they want to by from a friend. This word also comes in the synonyms of frankly, truly, and the truth is.

ie. “Its as simple as moving the database from the legacy system to MySQL.”
The great thing about the word simple is that it almost always can predict that the future of your statement will be anything but. To say something is simple, implies that it is too small for the client to worry about, but what really ends up happening is that it is usually this item that the client will fixate on because you have tried to downplay it. This word also comes in the synonyms of easy, no problem,and likity split. Yes, I’ve really heard a colleague say that last synonym before!

ie. “Actually, the real objective is to design a new way for people to use toilet paper”
The word actually is always used to debunk a statement that has been already made. There is no way to use the word that would not force the listener to become on guard. If you use this word with a client then you are putting them down and trying to prove that you are right and they are wrong. Debate is fine and healthy in a client relationship but in this manner, and with this word in particular, you can do more harm than good.