Six Little Communication Pet Peeves

Decisions, decisions. If I had my druthers, everyone would make decisions rather than take them. While I reluctantly concede that either use is acceptable, every time I hear someone say they are “taking a decision” I want to ask: “Where are you taking it? Out for lunch?”

Impact. Impact is far better as a noun than a verb. “We experienced a significant impact because of this decision.” vs. “This decision impacts us in a significant way.” Also, please leave “impacted” for discussions about wisdom tooth extraction.

Embedded. Embedding should stay behind the scenes. When using this term, keep it to strategy discussions as an outcome of what you hope to accomplish (i.e. “Through this initiative, these concepts will become embedded in our policies.”).

Engagement. Like embedding, engagement should be an outcome and stay behind the scenes. It should inform strategy, but not be part of final communications. You shouldn’t have to tell people you’re engaging them; just engage them!

Passive vs. Active Voice. Passive voice, despite what you hear, still has its uses. Trying to morph everything into active voice sounds odd and contrived. Modern written communications should reflect a balance of the spoken language and reasonable grammar. (It is also okay, on occasion, to end a sentence with a preposition, particularly for informal conversational narratives.)

Acronyms. Introduce acronyms for projects or initiatives at the earliest opportunity in a text and then stick with the acronym the rest of the way. But OMG, please leave text-message acronyms for text messages.


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