When I was studying creative writing at the University of Rochester, my professor would begin each lesson with “bad habits” most growing writers practice. One that applies to script writing, resumes, and newsletters – persuasive material – is using adverbs and adjectives to qualify your ideas. This habit is especially noticeable when using trite descriptions.
For example, here are the top ten “overused buzzwords” of 2010 on LinkedIn:
1) Extensive Experience
6) Proven track record
7) Team player
9) Problem solver
Over time, these words lose their distinct meaning. If you describe a concert as “interesting,” there is no novel information expressed, just that you attended a concert, and you had a reaction. If anything, generic phrases such as “problem solver” and “dynamic” obscures the idea you are trying to get across: that you are hard working, face challenges, and can adapt to high-stress situations.
When writing audio scripts or voice prompts, action words are key. Customers are physically reacting to audio signals, whether they are encouraged to push a button, “please hold,” navigate to a webpage, or write down important information. Therefore, voice prompts must be clear and precise.