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Weasel Words – swearing off is so hard to do

July 12, 2005

thomkras

As I read this Newsweek article, my face burned with shame. Over the years I’ve contributed my fair share of “weasel words” to corporate brochures, websites and, of course, internal communications. But is there any hope for me or my colleagues? Can marketing professionals “just say No” to weasel words? Is there a 12-step program out there somewhere we can join??

“Hello. My name is Thomas, and I’m an… an… Obfuscator. However, thanks to the great folks in this room, I’ve been weasel word-free for 27 days now…”   

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

“Does the idea of a water-cooler company saying that it sells “workplace refreshment solutions” seem ridiculous? Does it infuriate you that everyone, from the local pastor to your kid’s school principal, seems to have a “mission statement” touting their “core values.” If so, you’re not alone, says Australian author Don Watson. His book “Death Sentences: How Clichés, Weasel Words and Management-Speak are Strangling Public Language,” became a surprise bestseller in Australia last year and prompted a flood of mail from other frustrated language lovers…”

Well, I’m going to make the pledge to give up WW. Wish me luck. And if you catch me backsliding, please, please intervene on my behalf. I’ll thank you some day.

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