There is a word that many of my beloved colleagues use to describe what I do in the legal department, and in other departments that provide documentation or language to colleagues and clients. And this word is: "verbiage." For example: "Dani, can you put together some verbiage on topic X for this client?" Or "We need you to approve this verbiage."
Where in the heck did the word "verbiage" come from? It seems to be firmly entrenched in corporate jargon now, along with expressions like "I'm going to reach out to X on this issue" or calling something "actionable."
Here's the thing, though. These things don't necessarily mean what we think they do, or worse: they don't mean anything at all (Actionable? Huh?). For example, the dictionary definition of "verbiage" is: "speech or writing that uses too many words or excessively technical expressions." Gosh, I know I'm a lawyer but I do try very hard not to use too many words or be excessively technical in what I say, so calling my work that is kind of insulting. And unless you're grabbing me for a hug (hugs always welcome!), you're not "reaching out" to me - I'd prefer if you contacted me about a task you'd like me to perform. Or called me with regards to a work request. Or emailed me with a question.
Doesn't sound as fancy, but it's much more clear, don't you think?
Let's make a resolution for 2014 to say what we mean, and mean what we say.