Four languages of failure

“language which seems wishy-washy”

An author on business writing (Tom Sant) describes four languages of failure which often get between us and our audience:



1. FLUFF “The language of grandiose claims, vague assertions and hype.”


2. GUFF “The language of the bureaucrat. Needlessly complex, pompous and dense”


3. GEEK “Language which is too technical or obscure for the intended reader”


4. WEASEL “Language that sounds wishy-washy or even sneaky”


As an example, consider two copy writing approaches highlighted in Lucy Kellaway’s Golden Flannel Awards in the FT:


A>> 2014 winner for the award of “Chief obfuscation champion” (COC). Rob Stone, CEO of Cornerstone “As brands build out a world footprint, they look for the no-holds-barred global POV that’s always been part of our wheelhouse.”


B>> 2014 winner of the “Flannel-free award”. Wan Long, founder of Shuanghui International and a global leader in the pork chop space: “What I do is kill pigs and sell meat.”



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“Be the best, it’s the only market that’s not crowded.” Tom Peters, business author and speaker