In “8 Conversational Habits That Kill Credibility” at Inc.com, Geoffrey James warns readers about some common errors that can sabotage your sincerity and trustworthiness.
Here’s a sampling, one of my favorites:
“Using big, impressive sounding words rather than smaller, common ones can leave listeners with the impression that you’re pompous and pretentious. Examples: “assess strategic options and tactical approaches” (i.e. “plan”) or “implement communications infrastructure” (i.e. “add wireless”). Fancy-schmancy wording adds bulk and extracts clarity.
“Fix: The core problem here is the need to feel as if your business and your activities are more important and impressive than they really are. The fix, therefore, is a big dose of humility. Business is neither rocket science nor brain surgery–it is, in fact, a place where plain talk is both valued and appreciated.”
I’m afraid No. 3 is far too common. A good guideline: Write (or speak) to express, not impress.