Fake your way to the top with fad words

Why and when communicators should use fad words.

Management gurus are fond of warning us that we will be trampled and killed if we can’t stay abreast of a relentlessly innovative and evolving market. Using fad words lets you show the world that you’re not only staying abreast of change, but may be slightly ahead of it. This means that people who fear they’re behind will read whatever you write because they desperately want to know what they must do to avoid being ground underfoot by forces they don’t understand.

They won’t learn anything from you, of course. You know that no one—including you—can predict which business trends will turn out to be the decisive ones. But you’ve also learned how to make it look like you know what’s going on. You use fad words and jargon to fake it.

Don’t confuse fad words with slang or jargon. “Craptacular,” for example, is slang. That doesn’t mean you won’t find it in Merriam-Webster in a few years (see also “ginormous” and “humongous,”) but it’s too casual to be used in serious business prose. Business jargon, like “results-driven logistical framework,” whatever that is, tends to stay inside the business world.

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