Buzzwords are common in the American workplace, but a lot of people hate many of them. Some buzzwords are so bad that if people see them in a job ad, some won’t bother to apply. Today’s episode covers the most hated words and phrases based on a recent survey. Also, when we’re making a case for something we believe in or greatly desire, our tendency is to argue for it until we’re blue in the face. We heap point on point until the person (or people) we’re trying to convince have no choice but to concede. Or, at least, that’s what we think we’re doing. Listen to find out a more effective way to win your next argument.

If you’ve gone to the trouble of writing out a job ad and paid to post it on job sites or elsewhere, you probably want potential candidates to apply for the job. So it’s a bad idea to use words that turn them off, and yet all too many employers do just that. Most of these words seem to really mean: “We plan to make you work as hard as humanly possible and maybe harder.” Have you ever used any of them?

“Rockstar” – The implied meaning seems to be: “We expect you to wow us with everything you do.” Not that we want you to feel pressured.

“Wear many hats” – It’s easy to see why this phrase might put someone off. It sounds like code for: “We really need to hire several people, but we’re going to keep costs down by having you do multiple jobs instead.”

“Ninja” – The actual meaning of this word is someone who is trained in ancient Japanese martial arts for the purposes of espionage or murder. There probably aren’t too many of these available for hire. Informally, of course, it means someone who’s extremely good at something. As with rockstar, that can sound like a lot of pressure to a potential candidate.

When trying to win an argument leveraging several examples a recent presentation by Dr. Niro Sivanathan argues that it is counter productive. He makes it clear that our minds aren’t great at weighing the quality of a series of points in an argument meant to sway us. Instead, the stronger points are diluted by the weaker ones, making the overall argument weaker. The more points you provide, the greater the opportunity for someone to pick one that they disagree with.

In short, stick to the “Fewer-Farther” Rule. Here are a few easy steps to use this rule as you structure your arguments:

Write out all of the points you’ve considered in support of your argument.

Rank the points by strength (the ones most likely to sway your audience should be at the top).

Write out all of the details of your first point so it is well explained with ample context and, if appropriate, sources that back it up.

Flesh out your second point with just as much detail — but hold on to this as backup. Do not use it when you first make your argument. This should only be used as an additional tool of persuasion if your strongest point doesn’t hit home.

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