Writing statements: avoid clichés like the plague

May 31, 2016

If you write media statements, advise colleagues or clients or speak to the media regularly yourself – it can be comforting to fall back on familiar phrases and reassuring sayings.

But try to make your statement sound like it wasn’t composed by a cliché-bot.

In this scribble, each item of clothing is made up of my least favourite filler statements. You’ll sound more sincere if you use a form of words where you say what you mean off the top of your head, rather than sounding official.

Nobody is convinced by:

  • “I want to focus on the real issue”. Everyone knows it means “I don’t want to talk about the thing you just said”;
  • “Let’s be [perfectly] clear” followed by a vague point;
  • “Saddened”. It is not a word you use when you’re actually sad;
  • “Committed to diversity”, which is something you do. Just saying it isn’t virtuous and doesn’t make it true any more than if I told you I’m committed to being a sober supermodel;
  • “Conducting a rigorous investigation” – the lazy way of saying “we’re stalling for time”. It’s hackneyed.

Leave your statement outfit in the closet.


statement outfit

(I doodlel on comms and work stuff over at workitoutwithapencil.com if you want to take a look.)

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Hel Reynolds

Hel Reynolds

Author of this post

Hel is social media trainer and boss of Comms Creatives. She has been working in comms since 2005, and has been brushing up her expertise in social media for brands since the good old days of MySpace. She also draws the Comms Cartoons, and is usually attached to a mug of coffee.

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