Communication is an essential part of our lives and instead of getting easier some suggest its more difficult given that we now have so many more choices in terms of the channels and platforms we use. It’s no longer a case of just leaning over your neighbours fence or picking up the phone instead it’s about the channels that are used by those you are trying to make a connection with that are most important. Sure, some still prefer a phone call (I know I do) and we are so overwhelmed by emails that preferences have changed to platforms such as LinkedIn or Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
But, all of that aside, the words we use in everyday business life (and our social worlds) have also changed.
In fact you may (or may not) be surprised to learn that the most common words and phrases used in the English language are very different to a decade before and that the theme are generally negative as opposed to positive. The Global Language Monitor uses sophisticated technology to monitor word usage on the internet, including social media platforms, blogs and more than 275,000 print and electronic publications. There system requires that words have a minimum of 25,000 citations and need to have both depth and breadth in their use.
So what were the years most overused business words?
2. Social media
10. Big data
11. Nouns used as verbs (to concept, to ballpark, to impact)
13. Moving forward
14. The cloud
So – what were the top words used in 2013? Take a look:
404: The near-universal numeric code for failure on the global Internet.
F ail: The single word fail, often used as a complete sentence (Fail!) to signify failure of an effort, project, or endeavour.
Hashtag: The “number sign” and “pound sign” reborn as the all-powerful Twitter hashtag.
@ Pontifex: The handle of the ever-more popular Pope Franciscus (Francis).
The Optic: The “optic” is threatening to overtake “the narrative” as the narrative overtook rational discourse. Does not bode well for an informed political discussion.
Surveillance: The revelation of the unprecedented extent of spying by the NSA into lives of ordinary citizens to the leaders of the closest allies of the US.
Drones: Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) that are piloted remotely or by on-board computers used for killing scores or even hundreds of those considered enemy combatants of the US.
Deficit: Looks like deficit-spending will plague Western democracies for at least the next decade. Note to economists of all stripes: reducing the rate of increase of deficit spending still increases the deficit.
Sequestration: From Latin sequestrare, to hide away or isolate or to give up for safekeeping.
Emancipate: Grows in importance as worldwide more women and children are enslaved in various forms of involuntary servitude.
And what were the top phrases according to GLM:
Toxic Politics: American-style scorch-and-burn political campaigns becoming the norm for democracies worldwide.
Federal Shutdown: To the Founders it was a delicate balancing of powers. A generation ago it was called Checks and Balances. Today we call it Federal Shutdown.
Global Warming/Climate Change: Add “anthropogenic” warming to this fact: The existence of the Bering Land Bridge 20,000 years ago suggests that the oceans were some 100 meters lower than today.
Federal Deficit: The difference between what the government takes in and what it spends. 10 of the twelve largest global economies are running large deficits. The exceptions? China and Germany.
Tread Lightly: The advice from Walter White of television’ s Breaking Bad, speaks volumes to many in the 21st century.
Boston Strong: Signifying the resilience of Bostonians after the terror of the Marathon Bombing. Perhaps one day we will see Baghdad Strong.
Marathon Bombing: Terrorist bombing at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon resulting in five deaths and 280 additional casualties.
Chemical Weapons: As per the Geneva Convention, chemical weapons are any toxic chemical or its precursor that can cause death, injury, temporary incapacitation or sensory irritation through its chemical action.
All Time High: Many see this all-too-prevalent description of many world markets as more of a warning that a cause for celebration.
Rogue nukes: Sources state that Iran can now assemble a bomb in two weeks. This is going from hypothetical to reality. (If true, International Inspection Effort: Fail.)
“We are surprised that the year came out with such a negative theme,” Paul JJ Payack, the founder of GLM said to online publication “Business Insider Australia”
What do you think?
Are we being overly negative in our use of words and phrases? Is it just a sign of the times where the economic challenges of the last few years have been in the news on a daily basis and therefore that’s where the conversation inevitably ended up and do you think that as the economy recovers we will start to see more positive words and phrases? Or – is this sense of negativity still with us?
What does Jim Rohn say about communication? take a look!
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