What a coincidence! The latest issue of Daphne Gray-Grant‘s weekly Power Writing Tips newsletter (for people “who want to write better, faster”) also talks about the pompous way people sometimes want to be quoted, similar to my last post:
“But the real difficulty is that the people who write this way are usually proud of their status as ‘experts’ and think the vocabulary makes them sound smarter. They are also wrongly inclined to believe certain obscure words and convoluted constructions are needed to be precise. The result? Confusion for the reader.”
She then goes on to recommend a tool called Bullfighter that looks through Word and PowerPoint files for words like “utilizing” and phrases like “proactive strategies.” Its Bull Index also grades your document for level of bull. Sadly, it doesn’t work on a Mac so I can’t vouch for it personally.
The Bullfighter site also promotes a book called Why Business People Speak Like Idiots:
“If you think you smell something at work, there’s probably good reason — Bull has become the official language of business. Every day, we get bombarded by an endless stream of filtered, jargon-filled corporate speak, all of which makes it harder to get heard, harder to be authentic, and definitely harder to have fun.”