10 words and phrases investors and managers must stop using

March 9, 2016 admin

BlueAndYellowMacawLet us begin by stipulating that we sound suspiciously like parrots when we repeat the same words, common phrases and clichés as all those around us. Here is just a sampling of some of the most trite of those clichés and bits of industry jargon particular, in some cases, to investors and their agents of fortune.

“In our view …”
Well, I’m glad we cleared that up. If you had not specified that you were recording your own thoughts, I might have thought you are channeling Edgar Casey or Emily Brontë. (Some of you get a pass on this because your writing is being filtered through compliance people who foolishly think “in our view” is a protective phrase.)

“At the end of the day …”
Television’s many talking heads started using this phrase, and then it broke out into the general public and quickly became a cliché. We used to all say “in the final analysis.” When we finally tired of using that phrase, we switched to “at the end of the day.” Who knows what comes next when we finally exhaust that trite little piece of wordsmithing. The phrase is also what is called a “false start” to a sentence. In other words, simply knock off this opening phrase at the beginning of the sentence and you have a more straightforward line of copy. Example: Instead of stating, “At the end of the day, real estate is one of the best hedges against inflation,” simply state, “Real estate is one of the best hedges against inflation.” We always win points for being direct.

What this really means is that my interests or objectives are the same as your interests or objectives. So we boiled it down to one word. The problem is we keep using that same word over and over and over again. It’s monotonous, and it’s out of alignment with the sensibilities of any human being who needs a little variety in his or her life.

This is an especially annoying term because nobody really produces alpha anymore. Remember, we’re operating in a “yield-starved environment,” to use another over-used common phrase. And why alpha? Alpha brain-wave frequencies are no great shakes. It’s when we’re producing theta brain waves that we are in a dream state and producing the phantasmagoria that exposes us to things glorious and transcendent.

“Move the needle”
This was a fine metaphor until we used it 7.5 billion times in the United States alone. It also sounds too mechanical for our information-age endeavors. We need some new metaphors here.

This is worse than a cliché. Any assiduous business observer will tell you that a merger, partnership or business deal of any kind predicated on synergistic concepts inevitably fails. Seriously, have you ever heard a business executive reference synergy and actually succeed in their business deal? Use symbiotic instead and see if we can break this hex.

I’m not buying it. I’ll agree to it, but I’m not buying it. If you really want my buy-in, then stop talking like Rain Man.

“Boots on the ground”
We Americans love militaristic analogies, metaphors and similes. Yet we forget that repetition is a form of torture that armies use against one another. I know boots are the footwear du jour among women, but not so much with the guys. Maybe we can simply have a local presence once in a while.

“Arrows in our quiver”
There we go declaring martial law again. Warfare is bad for business. Militaristic phrasing might sound like we’re deploying an indomitable force, but when it’s so over-used, it loses impact. We need more powerful munitions.

This is just a nice way of saying we are motivated by money, or even greed. Not that human beings are only motivated by money, but if you’re in the investment business, you better be motivated by money (or at least motivated to make money for others). And you better shore up your language, because if you sound like everybody else, you’re not going to get the business.

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MikeCfinalwebMike Consol is editor of Real Assets Adviser.

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