Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The three words to be banned in 2009

"You're just talkin' a lot and sayin' nothing"
-- James Brown

If you want to make a professional New Year's resolution, start by banning "excited," "thrilled" and "honored" in all press releases.

It is the duty of every public relations professional who is called upon to conjure quotes for executives to remove these three words from their vocabulary immediately.

This habit is far worse than buying Aramis cologne for your dad's birthday 30 years in a row. He can impress his neighbors at Boca Vista Village in Florida and wash it off at the end of the day, but your name is stuck on that press release forever.

This is going to be a tough one to conquer. Just a look through Google News for the words "we are excited to be" and you can see how deep this lazy publicist's pattern is ingrained in our profession's DNA. Here are three examples of the 500 I found in the last 60 days:

"We are excited to be playing in the PapaJohns.com Bowl." -- Rutgers Scarlet Knights head coach Greg Schiano

"We are excited to be part of the community and we welcome our new neighbors in for breakfast, lunch or anytime." -- Garry Teal, regional business director for Einstein Bros. Bagels

"We are excited to be working with RecoverCare in the wound care marketplace." -- David Saloff, Executive Vice President, Chief Business Development Officer for Ivivi technologies.

I think everybody should assume that if you were not excited, honored or thrilled, you would not be there in the first place, forming a partnership, making the deal, hiring the person or entering the competition. If you've gone to the trouble of issuing release about it, clearly there's a horn blowing undercurrent to the whole enterprise.

Those three words are generally just a lot of hot air blowing, filling up space and pumping up egos when the real point of a quote is to put context into the announcement.

So instead of saying you're "excited be be working with" your new partner, explain the significance of the deal -- what does it mean to your company and what are the ramifications?

Instead of saying you're "thrilled" to have hired this new head of marketing, why don't you say a few unadorned specifics about what they bring to the table, and what they'll be digging into first.

Let's elevate the art of quote creating so that instead of being a lot of self-congratulatory and kiss-blowing jumble, they actually make executives appear to have depth, personality and insight.


1 comment:

Natalie said...

Love it...but -- I'm excited to ask for...an example! Do you know of anyone who's done it well?