Two words to embrace in 2013

Banished words, words to avoid, words to embrace, Big Duck. lake superior state university
Words to avoid and words to embrace in 2013.

Lake Superior State University has unveiled its 2013 List of Banished Words.

These are 12 words and phrases that you should categorically not use in 2013 because they were so overused in 2012.  They range from ‘super food’ and ‘boneless wings’ (they’re just chicken pieces, people) to ‘YOLO’ and, of course, ‘fiscal cliff’.

I’m a fan of banishing, avoiding and snipping away words. (Here are five I advise you categorically avoid. And one very controversial  one–nonprofit–that I wish we’d all at least be more mindful of, if not avoid in its entirety.)

But there are times when adding a few carefully chosen words is a very good idea. Namely: when you’re having a conversation you hope will lead to further engagement.

When you’re talking to someone about coming to an event, or giving a gift, or volunteering, it’s easy to get so caught up in what you’re saying, that you forget to make sure they’re hearing you.

This is when a little thing called “tie-downs” can come in handy. Here are three examples:

  1. If asking someone to make a gift, you’d want to make sure they knew the impact their gift could have, wouldn’t you?
  2. When asking people to donate old winter coats, it makes sense to offer convenient drop-off locations, doesn’t it?
  3. Thank you notes should be sent in a timeline fashion, don’t you think?

Those words at the end are called tie-downs–little phrases that come at the end of a sentence that give the listener a chance to nod, smile, or say ‘yep’ or, possibly, ‘nope’. They can be the difference between a soliloquy and a conversation.

Caution: If you’re not used to using tie-downs, practice first. Otherwise, you risk sounding like a robot (pitchfall #1–oh no!) or like a valley girl (all upspeak and very hard to take seriously).

Big Duck will soon come out with their annual words to avoid (here was the 2012 list…go ahead, try not to chortle as you read it). Prune all of those words plus the ones on the Banished Words list from your 2013 vocabulary. That way, you can make room for tie-downs and other words you should embrace.

Because you want to be successful in 2013, don’t you?


Do you communicate as effectively as you think?


Do you communicate as effectively as you think?