10 terms that leave egg on your face

PR pros love to share hackneyed words and phrases that make their blood curdle. Here are some more phrases that should be relegated to the dustbin of history.

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Many PR pros appear to be dead set on following their colleagues in jumping off the proverbial bridge.

Good writers continually update their vocabulary by borrowing from writers they admire. That’s how language evolves: A witty coinage becomes common parlance and eventually Merriam-Webster or another dictionary adds the term to its lexicon.

However, some groovy coinages and phrases are grating, ill-conceived and even misleading. To put it plainly, your attempt to be clever could have the opposite effect.

It’s a common error for wordsmiths of all levels: They use a word they don’t fully understand. They might have seen it used before. It’s tantalizingly long and has juicy syllables.

Synergy. Leverage. Utilization.

However, that word salad is less palatable than some might think. Here are 10 words to excise immediately from your business writing vocabulary:

1. Leverage

What does it mean to leverage your product? Perhaps to readers who spend long hours poring over balance sheets, the verb conjures the give-and-take value of a business asset. Maybe you feel the word imparts gravitas or business acumen.

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