Buzzwords are quickly becoming the chosen language for the culture of commerce. When Dan Pallotta posted “I Don’t Understand What Anyone Is Saying Anymore,” 937 people – at the time of this writing – took the time to comment. And 8,252 took the time to vote on the All-Time Worst Business Buzzword poll. We could all relate.
But be honest – Have you ever turned to a thesaurus to choose words that are more complex to give the impression that the content is more valid or intelligent? Nearly two-thirds of Stanford undergraduate students answered – admitted? – “yes.”
Using new or interesting, formal or complex language can make you feel smarter. But does it make you seem smarter to others? A study in Applied Cognitive Psychology suggests no.
“Consequences of Erudite Vernacular Utilized Irrespective of Necessity: Problems with Using Long Words Needlessly” makes the case the simpler writing is better writing. Simpler writing is judged as more true. It’s judged as more confident. It’s even liked more.
The lesson is simple. Want your writing to be liked more? Don’t just mean what you say. Just say what you mean.
Interested in more stuff I find interesting? Follow me @casey_flanagan on Twitter.