The owner of a car lot narrated the following radio ad:
“…These cars are heavily incentivized…”
But incentivized? I had to check it out. Sure enough, it’s in the dictionary, and it means “to give incentives to.” Another form of the verb is incentivizing (what a mouthful!).
I stand corrected. Incentivized really is a word. But is it the appropriate word to use when advertising cars — or anything, for that matter?
I hate it when people use big, impressive-sounding words when small ones will do.
What could the car salesman have said instead of, “These cars are heavily incentivized”?
- Buy this car today, and you’ll get a $2,000 rebate.
- Our cars are priced to sell.
- No one is buying our cars during this recession, and we’re panicking. To keep from going out of business, we’re offering you the best discount ever.
OK, that last one probably wouldn’t work, even though it’s closest to the truth.
Which brings up another jargony phrase that drives me nuts: economic downturn.
Sounds so soft, palatable, and hopeful, doesn’t it? We all know we’re in the middle of a recession; just call it what it is!
Then there’s leverage.
Whenever I attend business meetings, people talk about leveraging this and that. The word started out as a noun that means “power or ability to influence people, events, decisions,” or “to get a high return off one’s investment.” Now converted into a verb, it’s batted around in the marketing world like a beach ball. People must think “leveraging” makes them sound important and educated.
Yes, I understand it’s easier to say, “Let’s leverage our investment” instead of, “Let’s shoot for a high return on our investment.”
But it would comfort me to hear people speaking like human beings and not robots.
Here are more hundred dollar words I detest:
- Irrefutably: Michael Phelps is irrefutably the world record holder in several swimming events.
- I concur: I concur with your hypothesis, Sherlock.
- Wherewithal and doggedly: The detective had the wherewithal to doggedly pursue the kidnapper.
- Precipitate and hereby: Your actions hereby precipitate a lawsuit.
…And even more jargon bandied about at a conference I recently attended:
- Knowledge worker set
- Change management
- Best practices
- Green space
- End users
- Information assets
- Enterprise space
- Social technologies
Your turn! What hundred dollar words grate like fingers on a chalkboard? How many can you cram into one sentence?