Real Words that Work - Please don't leverage this tip

By Patricia Davies, President, Patricia Davies Communications

Please don’t leverage this tip

The word “leverage” drives me nuts. Every time I see it I know the sentence around it will be impersonal, hard-to-understand and pretentious. Last month I counted every time I saw it, and my hunch proved correct that vast numbers of people are leveraging just about everything. I caught it three times in one day and lost count over the month. Here are two examples:
  • Can games really be leveraged internally to increase engagement, build loyalty, encourage participation and drive revenue?
  • You will learn how to leverage details from your registration data.
“Don’t use a $1 word if a 50-cent word will do” is one of the first lessons I learned as a writer. $1 words tend to be “look-at-me-I’m-so-smart” show-offs as opposed to the serviceable simpler words that actually give information. Be kind to the stakeholders in your BA professional network, whether they are across the hall or in another country. Forget leveraging and go for an alternative. Possibilities are “use,” “help,” “combine” “or supply”. Or just leverage it out entirely.

Can companies that use games expect higher engagement, loyalty, participation and ultimately revenue? 
You will learn how to copy details from your registration forms and use them elsewhere. (Only a guess; I really don’t know what the sentence means.)

Patricia Davies is an award-winning writer and editor, an Endorsed Education Provider (EEP) with IIBA®, and a regular panelist on the IIBA “Being a BA: Effective Communication” Webinar (first Tuesday of every month). Have you got a writing question? Please e-mail and we’ll try to address it in a future column or Webinar.