Weasel words can weaken your writing

Do you use “weasel words”? I don’t mean a furry critter that goes through your garbage in the late hours of the night. Weasel words are terms and phrases that are deliberately fuzzy. Rather than providing clarity, weasel words obscure your message.

Weasel words get their name from the crafty weasel, which sucks eggs without breaking the shell. Similarly, weasel words suck the meaning out of your message. If you communicate with phrases like “highest quality,” “prompt service,” or “highly qualified,” you may be weaseling, even if inadvertently.

Before you write, ask yourself, “What exactly do I offer?” If you believe your product is of the highest quality, explain why. For example, tell your clients that you represent only A-rated insurance carriers and briefly explain the importance of that rating. This offers much clearer information to your potential customer.

If you offer prompt service, you might say “We return all phone calls within 24 hours and you will have my cell number.” This clear message informs people that “We are so committed to excellent service that we offer you this promise.” No matter what product they buy, everyone wants to be a priority customer.

No matter what product they are buying, everyone wants to be a priority customer.

“Highly qualified” doesn’t explain the depth of your expertise. “Meeting the insurance needs of the Phoenix contractor’s community for over a decade” gives potential clients a better understanding of the depth of your knowledge.

Another way to weasel is with vague introductory phrases, like writing, “With all due respect”? If you disagree with someone’s opinion, don’t bother telling them that you respect them. State your case and then offer to discuss their concerns with them personally. This leaves the door open for more communication.

Weasel words can destroy communication. No matter well you write it is easy to slip into fuzziness. Weasel words weaken your writing and don’t educate the reader to the benefits of doing business with you.