Jim-Van-Dusen-Five-More-WordsBy Jim Van Dusen

Is it too harsh to call this a list of overused, insincere, irrelevant phrases that novice writers (and lazy experienced writers) let slide even though the client bullet-pointed it into an e-mail while thinking about seven other things? Oh well, here’s the latest list:

5. “Get Ready to…” Really? The big question is: How do you get ready? How do you get ready to save up to 30 percent on shoes? Do you lay out your clothes on the bed in anticipation? The answer is, no one really gets ready. It’s one of those phrases that sounded good coming out of a jock’s voice box twenty years ago, but it doesn’t really make sense.

4. “It’s ______’s Best Kept Secret” Really? No it’s not! It’s a terribly kept secret because you’re talking about it on the radio. Also, if the next lines talk about how “so many people love it”, you’ve sucked all the believability out of the line. Which means you’ve lied to your listeners and then proved it. Not that I’m advocating the phrase “Worst Kept Secret” but at least it’s more accurate.

3. “Take advantage of” As in, “take advantage of 30% savings!” Really? This one isn’t the worst, but since I’ve heard it in commercials since before I started even thinking of making commercials....maybe it’s time to go? But even back then, it sounded wrong to me. Take advantage? It sounds like you’re doing something unsavory. (I know, it’s just me on this one) One more argument though…”Take advantage of” is really generic. As generic as number two on our list….

2. “Product”. Really? You’re going to get someone to buy a new car by calling it “product”? When did this become an acceptable way to describe what you sell? “We’ve got plenty of product on the lot”. Car manufacturers use some fantastic words and imagery to describe their models, and then the dealership ruins it by calling it product. Egad!

1. “So What are you waiting for?” Really? You’re going to give the listener the opportunity to come up with reasons to NOT do what you’re trying to get them to do? Also, it sounds condescending, don’t you think? Like, “why aren’t you doing this, you idiot?” And from what I’ve read, this is one thing Generation Y ignores with a passion.

I challenge you to go one month without using any of these words or phrases. Then, go another month, then another and another…….