You Say Half As Much With Double-Talk

The author suggests writing to the person who will be reading your work to avoid what he calls “double-talk.”

“We create industry-leading solutions using cutting-edge technologies for our clients.”

Any idea what this company does? I’m guessing no.

I’m not sure why so many brochures, websites and public affairs materials are written this way. Best guess: Many organizations probably think the best way to handle such material is to put it through a committee of Very Important Senior Managers and Executives.

But what often happens is that each committee member chips away at the core message — “can we change ‘best’ to ‘industry-leading?’” — until all that’s left is a bunch of double-talk.

Suggestion: Write to me — your constituent, your website visitor, your prospect. Even if your About Us blurb reads a little less formally, your public — human beings — will enjoy and respond to it far more positively than this nonsensical jargon.

Another good rule: When you’re writing, ask yourself if you’d say the words in conversation. If someone sitting next to you on a plane asked what your company did, would you respond, “We’re the premier corporate intelligence solution using best-of-breed technology?” Now, imagine that person not sitting next to you on a plane but visiting your organization’s website.

Remember: You say half as much with double-talk.

About the Author

Robbie Hyman is a professional communications and public affairs writer. He has 15 years’ experience writing for nonprofits, small business and multibillion-dollar international organizations and is available as a freelance writer for federal agencies.

Robbie has written thousands of pages of content, including white papers, speeches, published articles, reports, manuals, newsletters, video scripts, advertisements, technical document and other materials. He is also co-founder of, an online course that teaches smart money habits to teenagers.