2016 marks the 30th anniversary of the Texas anti-litter campaign “Don’t Mess With Texas.” The campaign debuted during the Cotton Bowl in 1986. This iconic social marketing campaign is credited with reducing litter in the state by 72 percent, and is a sterling example of how understanding your audience and making good word choice can drive powerful communication. Don’t Mess with Texas was even voted America’s favorite slogan, beating out Nike’s “Just Do It” and the “Got Milk?” and “Where’s the Beef” slogans in a 2006 contest by ADWEEK magazine. Click on the headline to hear the story behind the campaign.
Go to any boxing gym and you’ll find a trainer who complains about boxers who don’t appreciate the impact of landing body blows. Most boxers want to win the bout in one fell swoop by landing the big knockout punch. That means they tend to swing for the head and don’t even think about landing effective body punches. Experienced and well trained boxers know better. They hammer madly at the larger, less protected mass that is their opponent’s torso, knowing that the cumulative impact of those strikes will deplete his energy as the rounds tick by, causing his arms to become heavy and gradually fall, leaving the head open for the decisive blow. Many writers and boxers have this in common. The body blow of writing is the active voice. Take any sentence written in ... (click on the headline to continue)
How many people in your workplace use distinctive words when speaking or writing? Here’s a wild guess: very few if any. That’s because we all speak in clichés – not to mention that dreadful industry jargon that exists in almost every line of business. When it comes to communication, people tend to resemble parrots. We walk around repeating the same tired words and phrases as everybody else.
But why? Why do we do that? Here are three reasons why we always seem to default to clichés. Number one: Clichés and common phrases are ... (click on the headline to continue)
Let’s say that you’re the head of a reclamation program at your company, a program that takes at-risk under-performing employees and your program was designed to get them up to company standards and turn them into employees in good standing. Now you’re being asked by senior management to give a presentation about your program and give them a better understanding of how it’s working. Don’t make the mistake that so many others do by turning your presentation into a cavalcade of ... (click on the headline to continue)