Why use $50 words when $5 words will do?
For example, let’s say I have this to communicate:
My colleague made himself the cynosure of the meeting when he pontificated about how parsimonious his department was with their budget. Frankly, listening to him was like listening to a cacophony of screaming children.
What? For real? Are you kidding me?
Why use those words when I could use these?
My coworker made himself the center of attention when he went on and on about how careful his department had been with their budget. Frankly, listening to him was like listening to a noisy playground.
This week’s tip is don’t use BIG words just because you believe they make you sound smarter. It actually does quite the opposite.
Case in point, look at the 10 words below and compare them to the simpler alternative.
There is another risk we take when we use $50 words … the risk of using a word incorrectly. One favorite of mine is the word irregardless. Oh wait! Irregardless isn’t actually a word, so I guess it doesn’t qualify.
How about this one – hone. You may be thinking, “Oh, come on Jeannette, I know that word and I use it correctly.” If that is the case, then riddle me this– which is correct?
A) We are honing in on a solution.
B) We are honing our presentation.
C) Both A and B
If you chose C, you are incorrect! Sorry. If you chose A, you are also incorrect. Wah wah. If you chose B, congratulations!
Example A should actually read, We are homing in on a solution. These definitions explain why.
A) Home – to get closer to it.
B) Hone – to sharpen or improve.
Remember, choose and use words which make sense to your audience AND to you too. When you do, better communication happens.