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We spotted a great article on the BBC News site this morning. It pretty much parallels what we come across every day as copywriters – words intended to get across good qualities, but now so overused that they either mean nothing, or suggest the opposite.

The article tackles the CV, and the common clichés and meaningless turns of phrase therein. It points out that merely by telling potential employers you’re ‘creative’, like everybody else does, it suggests to them you’re probably not very creative. And that so many people seem bent on shouting about ‘excellent communication skills’ despite their CVs being riddled with poor spelling and grammar.

And so it goes in the corporate world. Every day, copywriters wade through a sea of ‘proven innovators’, ‘truly collaborative approaches that drill down to the heart of clients’ core values’, ‘passion’, and ‘delivering on promises’. Usually, these are claims without any explanation or substantiation. But the point here is the same one the BBC News article makes: these words and phrases are now so overused and exhausted that they mean nothing to the poor reader that has to suffer them. And so the mere claim that you’re innovative, when everyone else is also innovative, is ample evidence to the reader that you’re not. Even if you actually are…

Imagine the poor person in HR that has to endure that predictable pile of CVs. And then imagine it’s a customer looking for a product or service online, reading the same redundant words and phrases over and over again. It gets to the point where the true innovators might as well openly deny it, just to get people’s attention.

It’s a shame, but we hope articles like this start getting people and businesses to think a bit more about how they communicate.

Read it here:

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