What’s wrong with the word ‘cohort’ (and others like it)?

A client sent through her latest internal newsletter recently and I cringed to see the word ‘cohort’ in there used to describe their new team of graduates.

You see, this client has only recently taken over writing the newsletter and to say she has breathed life into it is an understatement.

A new visually engaging template and most importantly a wonderful, personable, warm and witty tone. Feedback for the newsletter has included:

“The new format is so awesome, it makes me want to cry. Love, love, love the look and feel, the way you are writing the stories is just brilliant.”

And:

“I’d just like to say how awesome this is. It’s more awesome than words can describe.”

Her warm and witty tone is perfect for this young tech company. But then, this week, the word cohort crept in.

I noticed it because the word cohort has been appearing in this company’s head office a lot recently. I suspect it came from one of the new executives and it’s always interesting to watch a new piece of jargon take hold. Noticeably in a young company that is much more likely to use the word crew than cohort.

I flagged it and week or so later, she came back to me asking me what I had against the word cohort. I gave a quite a long-winded answer about not using words at work that you wouldn’t use at home and to watch out for words that pop in and out of fashion in the corporate world.

Really, it was just a long way of saying to avoid jargon. As an internal communicator, watch out for buzzwords and avoid them in your writing.

Otherwise your beloved newsletter that is so good it makes people want to cry starts to sound that little bit corporate. That little bit like just about everything else flying around on email within your corporate walls.

Posted on February 16th, 2016.  0 Comments


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