20 words and phrases that will doom your pitch

Use these ‘cursed words,’ and many reporters and bloggers will delete your email. So will your employees. Plus, civilization might end.

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Evil forces lurk among us, threatening to destroy our way of life.

Only communicators stand between civilization and a new Dark Age. But your quest starts with a taboo: Never write the 20 words that will bring down a curse on you, your communications and all mankind.

Or, well, at least you will doom your pitches, press releases and internal emails, according to two scribes who have spent years reading ancient scrolls and overhyped press releases.

Michael Smart, principal for MichaelSMARTPR, said he and New York Times technology columnist David Pogue once drew up a list of “cursed words” and hype phrases that undermine your credibility.

Here are the words:

“Lots of journalists tell me, ‘I immediately delete releases as soon as I see one buzzword or any hype,” said Smart, who has successfully landed stories in TIME.com, The New York Times, and many other venues. “The kinder ones say, ‘I just don’t read those words; I skim over them. It’s like they’re not even there. They don’t impress me. They don’t do anything.”

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