An article in Ragan’s Grapevine compiles a list of items that, in the editorial staff’s opinion, should be obvious to all communicators. I have added my own comments to some of them.
1. Stock photography sucks, yet some business communication web sites still use them.
(I think judicious use of carefully selected stock photography could still be helpful.)
2. Clip art sucks.
(Again, with careful selection and judicious use, clip art can still be useful for many communicators.)
3. Some newly invented words are useless. An example given is the term “interrupt driven” reportedly used by “computer sociologists” to describe modern work. On the other hand, the article cites the new word “glazing” as useful. It is reportedly defined by the book on new corporate jargon, “Green Weenies and Due Diligence,” as sleeping with eyes open in a corporate meeting.
(I’m sure a lot of people find much use for this new word.)
4. Conrad Hilton’s 1957 autobiography, “Be My Guest,” is boring and cloying and Hilton communicators should make a stand and have it removed from the hotel chain’s night table drawers.
(I haven’t read the book but based on the excerpts shown in the article, Hilton communicators should, at least, have done a better editing job.)
5. Business jargon should not be spoken at home to one’s family.
(This is both funny and heartbreaking at the same time. It gives new meaning to the idea of not taking your work home.)
6. It is not polite to send an email like:
How you been?
Nor is it polite to reply:
(I would add that it is not polite to bombard your friends, acquaintances and business contacts with forwarded canned inspirational messages and jokes.)
7. It is impolite to send an email with more than two questions to be answered.
(Exceptions would be email interviews and questionnaires.)
8. People who say things are “intriguing” generally aren’t intriguing, and people who say “frankly” are rarely frank.
(Beginning your statement with “frankly” implies you haven’t been up front in all your other statements.)
9. Internal corporate slogans are passe and are often made fun of by employees. Consultant TJ Larkin is quoted saying: “Employees deduce values by observing behaviors.”
(Perhaps an internal slogan could still be effective IF everyone in the company sees that it is more than just lip service.)
10. Corporate communicators should communicate more clearly than others in the company, or else they shouldn’t be hired.
(Unless the company hires its communicators precisely to obfuscate items it wishes to cover up.)
11. Some of the most foolish people in the world are those in the “helping professions” and the least helpful of all those professions is career counseling.
(I beg to disagree. This shouldn’t be a generalization.)
The article is interesting and will probably generate a lot of other reactions, as well.