Image of cat warming up on radiatorEndless Zoom calls and Microsoft Teams meetings have changed how we look and relate to our co-workers and bosses.

Home offices give a glimpse of how we live. Pets and small children are likely to loudly demand attention as our calls get underway, or we might forget and leave a cat filter on. We’re not wearing suits and ties, or apparently pants, in many cases. (I still wonder: Who doesn’t wear pants, especially when yoga pants and sweat pants are so comfortable? And, winter??)

So why do our communications still sound so stuffy?

If we’re loosening up and looking more casual, let’s loosen up our language, too. Of course, that means getting rid of jargon, but we should also ditch a lot of formal, “stuffed-shirt” words and phrases.

The February 2021 issue of my newsletter, Wordnerdery, has more than 30 examples I’ve run across in just the past few weeks (like assist, expunge, ideate) along with the simpler, warmer ways (help, erase, come up with ideas) we can say them. Do those stuffy words bug you, too? What other words should be on the list? Please share in the comments.


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