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Don't Send a Ten Dollar Word to Do a Two Cent Word's Job

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All over America right now, in cube farms, conference rooms and corner offices, business people are using ten-dollar words where two-centers would do just fine.

They're utilizing "utilize" when they could just as easily use "use." They're talking about "selling solutions" when the company really makes and sells nuts, bolts, or ball peen hammers.

In the process, they're throwing away the common sense language of American business -- a language where people say what they mean, mean what they say, and make real money in the process.

There is pure business genius in simple language. Consider, "Lather. Rinse. Repeat."

In "Lather" and "Rinse" we have a complete set of instructions for shampooing our hair. The genius -- the American business genius -- is in "Repeat." This one word, written in the imperative instructs us us to double the rate of product consumption. Untold gallons of shampoo have gone down the drain because America, "repeats." Billions of dollars have been amassed and dispersed to stockholders.

And make no mistake about it. America doesn't "reutilize." It "repeats."

Our parents and grandparents gave us this plain and simple language with which to do business and make fortunes. We're crapping it away. All over America. Right now.

We don't grab opportunities. We "optimize" them. Even our dead people aren't dead people any more. They are "deceased."

On the couch the other night, flipping through the channels, I paused at one of those cop shows long enough to hear a man in blue use "deceased" as a verb.

"...The victim was shot three times, and deceased en route to the hospital..."

So it goes. On and on. We wander farther and farther from plain, simple words. We make ourselves -- and others -- work harder to figure out what we mean.

I'm not saying people should sweat blood into writing perfect sentences. I'm suggesting we should all do what our ancestors might suggest and, "Spit it out, you durn fool."

But no. Here we are flailing away in cube farms, corner offices and and conference rooms, generating Word documents no one will understand, using ten dollar words when two centers would do fine.

If you are ready to "optimize" the opportunity and "utilize" simpler language. Start with this simple step. Write this down on a Post-it Note:

"Cease the utilization of less than optimal verbiage."

Stick the Post-it Note on your monitor.

And the next time you open a new Microsoft Word document, stare at the note, and mutter under your breath, "Spit it out, you durn fool."