Have you ever noticed that when certain words are used in a presentation, a dividing line suddenly appears on the faces of the audience? There are many words that paint a very vivid picture to an audience that may or may not be what was intended.
Like me, you probably see this on a daily basis while attending meetings, workshops, conferences, etc. and it is crucial to take note of it. More often than not, it is a buzz word of some sort, such as ‘sustainability’, which has become so much of a household word that it is nearly meaningless. (Read Sustainability: Is the Word Sustainable? for more on this.)
Other times, it is a buzz word either completely butchered by how it is used, or by false pronounciation…such as “LEEDS” (the actual acronym is “LEED” which stands for (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). These subtle, yet blatant, errors can destroy the integrity of the presenter instantly.
We (myself included) must attempt to either describe the intentions more clearly, or physically illustrate them for stronger reactions. The following is an abbreviated list of development-related words that I am attempting to remove from my vocabulary during presentations (not blog posts for many reasons) because they no longer hold enough value and I find them to be polarizing. I encourage you to either email me or post a comment of more words that come to your minds.
Sustainability; LEED; Green Building; Low-impact Development; New Urbanism; Green; Sprawl; Suburbia; Multi-Family; Single-Family; Apartments; Condominiums; Mini-Mall; Strip Mall; Environmentalist; Tree Hugger; Office Park