Stop Using These — Unless You WANT People to Tune You Out

As an English major and a Listener (see who you are), spoken and written words have always been important to me. Yes: I’ve been accused of finding typos in menus at a restaurant (remember those?) — usually right after I did it.

But words are one of the most powerful ways we connect — or not — with each other. So I think they’re worth our attention.

A number of buzzwords and cliches have sprung up around the pandemic. It appears, like moods, these can be contagious. We start seeing and hearing them everywhere.

That’s the rub. pretty soon they’ve lost all meaning. Then they start to annoy us (cue the eye roll). Next, we start tuning them out.

Here’s my rant about the top five worst ones I’m hearing these days.

This list avoids the made-up words, like “covidiot” and “quaranteams,” used by people who are trying to be witty (that’s a whole other thing). My “worsts” focus on those that we can use without thinking — and cause others to not want to think about what we’re communicating.

It’s always important to choose your words intentionally. Start by knowing the goal for your communication. This can help you be mindful about selecting the ideas and language that will get you there.

It’s always true: very few people beyond your loved ones are waiting with great anticipation to hear from you. And most of the rest of the world would rather not (with their fingers hovering above the literal or figurative “delete” key).

When we don’t waste their time with empty words, they’re more likely to stay that finger a little longer and give us a shot at reaching them.

Feel free to share your un-favorite pandemic buzzwords in a comment–and disagree with any of mine.