When it comes to writing that you want people to read and understand, simple and familiar is good. Many executives don’t see it that way, though; they want to “utilize” this and “optimize” that until you want to scream. My rule of thumb is that if you wouldn’t use the word in casual conversation with family and friends, don’t use it in your writing.

The terms setting my teeth on edge most often these days are:

  • impacts – why does no one talk about “effects” any more?
  • overarching – I guess it’s the new “overall”
  • inception – what’s wrong with “creation”?

What words get you riled up?