Kind of, Sort of — Or What I See as “Like 2.0”

Posted on August 11, 2008

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My favorite guest blogger, dEE is back.  She recently shared her thoughts about dinner at Google, and now she's highlighting something I think all GenXYZers will agree is totally annoying.  Just when employers are complaining about hiring us if we say "like" too much, they go and do something like this to dEE...

I think one of the most important things to consider with marketing and Gen XYZ is not only how we (or our products) appear, but also how we talk about ourselves (and about our products).  I can't tell you the number of business calls I've been on recently where VPs, managers, and even executives are discussing strategy by using phrases such as these:

1) "So we want to kind of map out the calendar for announcing your news so we can sort of come up with a concrete game plan and decide on the best time line"

2) "I want to sort of say that we're delivering the next generation of technology, sort of taking what's there and bring it to the next level, to kind of focus on driving customer revenue more than on driving our own results"

3) "Yes, absolutely, I kind of think that this is exactly the approach we sort of want to take if we really want to get the name out there"

My internal responses:

1) Are we "kind of" mapping out the calendar, or do we want to actually map it out.  Is is "sort of" a concrete game plan? Why not go all the way and make it a "complete" game plan — go ahead, take the plunge.

2) So you "sort of" want to say that, or are you actually delivering the next generation? Why "sort of " take what's there and bring it to the next level when you can just go for it a "take what's there." Forget the sort of! It makes you sound like a wimp.

3) How can something be exactly "sort of" what you want to do.  Isn't that a contradiction?

Moral of the story — "kind of" and "sort of" are becoming the business world's version of the teen-speak "like," that dreaded word that my mother corrected me on time and again ("so are you 'like' going to hang out with Tina or are you really going to hang out with her").

I think the business world needs to drop the kind of, sort of's and just take the plunge — don't kind of do it; do it.  When you're marketing, be careful how you speak. So I'm kind of done with this rant now I think.  Thanks for sort of listening, like.

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