Vizzini: He didn’t fall??? INCONCEIVABLE!
Inigo Montoya: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
If you’ve seen the movie The Princess Bride you know that every other word out of Vizzini’s mouth is “inconceivable.” He uses the word out of context, and his love affair with “inconceivable” just isn’t working for him. Inigo “…you killed my father, prepare to die” Montoya points this out. In essence, he’s telling Vizzini he uses the word so much that it’s lost its meaning – its impact. “Inconceivable” has become generic.
There’s a very popular buzzword I hear quite often that reminds me of this movie scene; that word is “innovation.” Everything is “innovative” – and I mean everything. But really, it isn’t. It has been so overused that it falls into the categories of how everyone is SO excited and everything is SO awesome.
Innovation is real and many things such as challenging, inspiring, imaginative, smart and essential. Companies work tirelessly to be innovative and the overusing of the word takes away from those that really are.
In 2005 I was in the market for a new car. I found one with potential and took it for a test-drive. The salesperson was with me and the 10-15 minute drive was just distracting. All the salesperson would say was, “This car has innovation.” “They put so much innovation in this car.” “When designing this car, it was made for people your age with all this innovation.” All I wanted to do was stop the car, look at her and – you guessed it! – say, “I do not think that word means what you think it means.”
Here’s the thing. Words are powerful. “Facts tell, but stories sell.” There are thousands and thousands and thousands of words in the dictionary. In fact, we can count a single word more than once, like “dog,” (1-an animal, 2-the phrase dog-tired), and we have even more options.
I know we’re all guilty of rushing to meet a deadline, suffering from writer’s block, and frankly, feeling too pooped from a long day to even think. However, I challenge all of us to not rest on what’s comfortable, but to push ourselves to make our communication mean something and make an impact.
- Don’t be a Vizzini and stop overusing “innovative.”
- Bookmark thesaurus.com
- I’m going to go ahead and claim Everything is Innovative on Tumblr.