Cartoon of a person making a presentation to three others. Caption reads: "I know not all of us are excited about the prospect of breaking down silos."

Copy that’s overloaded with clichés dilutes meaning for the reader. Some phrases may even evoke a groan, a sense of weariness or a resistance among your audience, whether customers, prospects or staff. At the least, your target audience will recognise its lack of originality, and switch off.

While certain turns of phrase may have proved useful in the past, it’s important to recognise when they become clichés, and do more harm than good. A panel from the Forbes Communications Council has recently shared examples of common repetitive business language, and suggests alternatives to use instead.

How many times have you read a website boilerplate which boasts of the company being ‘the leading provider’ which offers ‘innovative solutions’ or ‘state-of-the-art technology’? Or read an internal document which talks about ‘cascading the information’ and ‘paradigm shifts’? These are just a few of the tired and overused phrases that can litter business communications and lose the reader.

A rule of thumb is to avoid anything that you wouldn’t say in a verbal conversation. If you wouldn’t say it out loud, it probably won’t read very well either.

To help you avoid clichéd writing in your copy and presentations, BWA’s writing fundamentals course can help.

Source: Forbes

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