If you want to be considered an influencer, you’d better learn how to evoke emotions with your opinions. This is such a huge grievance of mine…the laziness with which most people use their language.
The three most annoying words in our language are “great”, “amazing” and “awesome.” These are the go-to words of a slothenly culture.
I challenge you to go thirty seconds without hearing or reading one of these three words on TV, in social media or in conversation. These three words are so diluted and overused that they have lost their meaning.
While watching American Idol’s final season this week, I was so annoyed with the overuse of these words that I was compelled to direct tweet Harry Connick Jr: “Please stop telling everyone they are great and it was awesome. There are so many more words in our language.” Contestant after contestant was told “Great song choice!” “You have an amazing voice!” These words assault my ears like screeching audio feedback. If I got that critique, the same as the contestant before me, I’d be pissed! How about intentional perspective like “You have tremendous poise on stage and remarkable control of your voice for a 19 year old,” or “Your ease of delivery and commanding presence is like no one else in this competition.”
Each contestant comes to the stage with their own edge; PLEASE acknowledge these nuances. Use words that are evocative…that are truly descriptive of their unique talents. Use words that bring tangibility to the feelings that these stars-on-the-rise emote with their singularly individual style and performance. For three celebrated professionals who are getting paid megabucks to deliver their influential and professional opinions, the American Idol judges are quite lacking with their meaningful positive input. I’m not bashing their suggestions for improvement, by the way, just their complimentary feedback. (Jennifer, I do notice you doing a much better job of this than the boys! Because I know you will read this blog.)
American Idol aside, as a language lover and a crusader against the hum-drum, I would challenge YOU to please consider word choice as you approach your writing and speaking, daily. Every word is vital to becoming an influencer; to become an industry authority who has something valuable and interesting to say that makes you worth listening to. Avoid words that are nondescript. Get out your thesaurus if you have to in order to find a word that gives your statement truth and emotion.
If your friend does something nice for you, he isn’t a “great friend” he is a “thoughtful and considerate friend.” The event you went to this afternoon wasn’t “amazing” it was “thought-provoking and quite worthwhile.” Aren’t these latter statements much more visual and vivid? I get invited to several “amazing” events every single week. If you you are so cavalier with your marketing efforts that you can’t promise more value than “it will be amazing”, I can only imagine that your event will be equally blase. I interpret that these “amazing” invitations equate to a big pile of “average” opportunities. I’ll pass.
Don’t be lazy. Be passionate and bring your thoughts and opinions to life. It won’t take long to rise above the sea of mediocrity that is constantly vomited on those of us who crave a voice that speaks eloquently and with truth, intention and real value.