We are constantly being reminded that we are time-poor as we struggle to cope with the swelling tsunami of communication. Everything from the always-growing number of unread emails, to the marketing texts urging us to sign up for yet another mobile phone deal, to reduce the cost of usage even as our usage increases.
As we find we have less and less time to deal with more and more information, it is depressing to find that the word-count in communications all around us is steadily increasing.
Instead of practising economy of language in order to reduce our burden, those who want to communicate with us are becoming ever more verbose. And verbosity, like obesity, slows us down, leading to exhaustion and under-performance.
Spotted just two hours ago, on the perimeter wall of a highly-regarded wine merchants who should know better – “Please bear with us while we create your improved customer environment”. For heaven’s sake, what is wrong with – “Apologies for inconvenience while we carry out improvements”?
Even the straight-talking, shooting-from-the-hip new Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, while keeping a close eye on monetary inflation has failed to spot the danger of word-inflation. The central point of his opening statement last week was “future guidance”. Does “guidance” ever involve anything but the future? “Guidance” is about where to go next, how to go, what direction to take – all related to the future.
So please, let’s trim our communications, weigh our words and reduce wastage of time before we all perish in a linguistic landslide.