Caffeinated ideas and views on marketing communications

pet peeves in communications

Things that make me crazy

We all have pet peeves and things that make us go bonkers. Right? Unfortunately, we can’t always tell what will make other people feel like they are listening to nails scratching a blackboard, and sometimes our communications misfire because of it.

I wish I could say these are universal peeves and that you should avoid them at all costs (you should avoid them with me), instead I am asking you to think of what makes you crazy and what you would like to see avoided. Please be sure to share in the comments.

  • Using words that you don’t understand or saying something complicated when simple would do (like utile–why can’t you say useful?)
  • Having really obvious grammatical mistakes (example: using I instead of me or having problems with subject-verb agreement)

(Please read this entry over at OpenForum: 5 Common Word Usage Mistakes that Make You Sound Stupid)

  • Capitalizing Everything Instead of Bolding: more and more people are doing this in white papers and other texts. Capitals are for proper names and the beginning of sentences only.
  • Threatening: If you don’t do it this now… For instance, I got an email from the IPRA (a division of the PRSA-NCC) about an event, and then I got another email, and another. Then, I got one that said “final notice.” Like if it was an overdue bill and I hadn’t paid it. And then I get an email telling me it’s my “last chance.” Here’s a newsflash IPRA: threatening me is not going to make me more interested in seeing Mike McCurry,  who sold out his boss for the chance to sell his book. Nope.
  • Saying or claiming things that are obviously not true: I am planning to write a post about this specifically, but what I am referring to are ads or brochures that seem to ignore reality.  Like those Cox Communications commercials that claim the company has great customer service, when plenty of people can attest to the opposite. Or American Airlines claiming to be empathetic, telling me they know why I fly.
  • Insulting my intelligence: enough said.
  • Excessive self-promotion:  I see this a lot on Twitter and Facebook. When you feel the need to tell me how great you are all the time, I immediately think you are insecure.  I used to follow someone who was very proud of her WeightWatchers progress. And that is fine, but she needed all her followers to pat her on the back too. There is a moving line somewhere between excessive self-promotion (and neediness) and genuine pride and promotion of accomplishments. Figure out where it lies.

What’s on your list?


About Deborah Brody

Deborah Brody writes and edits anything related to marketing communications. Most blog posts are written under the influence of caffeine.


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