Donald L. Heymann plays Word Hide and Seek... Come out, come out, who ever you are! Mr. Heymann, a well known business writer and popular Adjunct Instructor of Writing at NYU, has released a second article in his new series regarding cultural changes that impact our language and communications. These articles uniquely address the cultural change gap problematic in so many of today's business communications.
Fairfield, CT, June 09, 2014 - (PressReleasePoint) - Donald L. Heymann, well known business writer and Adjunct Instructor of Writing at NYU, has released his second article in his series on cultural and generational writing.
“One of the goals of good writing in general, and business writing in particular, is to be persuasive.” says Mr. Heymann who feels that writers need to pay more attention to fast paced cultural changes. "If you’ve ever thought about how fast our language – and therefore our culture – is changing, you only need a handful of random examples to prove the point.
Writers, especially, must be keenly sensitive to these changes to remain relevant, or risk being dismissed outright. That's what I was writing about. By paying more attention to these changes, many businesses could be more successful.”
Verbal Hide & Seek: Come Out, Come Out, Whoever You Are!
Love ya. Did you ever wonder why people these days often express their love and devotion in such a sterile way? What happened to “I love you”? Where did the I go? Are we so afraid to express our feelings?
As I began to think about this, I came up with another verbal trick we use to avoid taking responsibility, but this time it’s about our actions, not our feelings. Today, especially in business, it’s common to say something like “The new smart phone technology allows me to conduct business, speak with friends and watch a movie.” The word “allows” is the culprit. Again, where’s the I? And, more importantly, who’s in control here?
Isn’t it more effective – and assertive – if we said, “With the new smart phone technology, I can conduct business, speak to my friends and watch a movie”? “Allowing” is passive and flimsy – as if we’re asking permission – and yet we seem to be increasingly using these kinds of word formulations in our communications.
I feel the same way about the F words “facilitate” and “foster.” Could there be any two words that are more convoluted and vague? Why are these words so commonly used today when just 10 years ago they were hardly used at all? I’m keen to foster and facilitate a change – to a time when we used stronger, clearer words like help, boost, support, promote, speed, assist, reinforce, cultivate, work with, or any number of other options.
One of the goals of good writing in general, and business writing in particular, is to be persuasive. And you can’t be persuasive unless you’re present, with a point of view. You can’t hide and expect an audience to get your message.
Here’s my theory. I believe these new word choices reflect a change in our culture in which we are unconsciously afraid to declare ourselves honestly and forthrightly (Love ya) or take responsibility for our actions, for fear of unknown consequences. Have things gotten so unnerving in our world that we are linguistically choosing to bury our heads in the proverbial sand?
Well, that’s what I think. I love you all.
Mr. Heymann shares other cultural examples, including issues regarding the elderly, the new normal, and God on his blog: and you can see the new article in this series at: http://www.donheymann.com/2014/05/verbal-hide-and-seek-come-out-come-out-who-ever-you-are/
"Writers who want to get a message across should pay close attention to the evolution of words because it’s a signal of how we think, how we feel and how we are changing as a society. As I’ve said before in my blog, words matter.”
About Don Heymann:
Don Heymann launched his business in 1985, drawing on his broad communications experience as a writer, consultant, corporate official and agency executive.
Before then, Don served three Fortune 500 companies in senior corporate communication positions — GAF Corporation, Lone Star Industries and Chesebrough-Pond’s Inc. (now Unilever Personal Care).
Earlier, he was an account supervisor with Burson-Marsteller, one of the largest public relations agencies in the world, developing and managing PR and marketing communications programs in a wide range of fields.
In addition, Don has a solid foundation as a writer and editor, having worked for McGraw-Hill Publications and other business journals. He has also taught writing courses at Western Connecticut State University and is currently an adjunct instructor at New York University’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies.
Elected to Phi Beta Kappa, Heymann is a summa cum laude graduate of Ohio University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English/Creative Writing.
Mr. Heymann’s clients include GE, IBM, Montifiore Hospital, New York Blood Bank, Johnson and Johnson, among many others.