“Well to use a technical term, that’s pretty much bollocks.”

This choice response from US FT Editor Gillian Tett about the government denying responsibility for the current market turmoil caused 1% outrage and 99% delight last week.


I’m squarely with the 99%. Clearly I’m not advocating Miriam Margolyes-like levels of industrial swearing, but direct conversational language sits at the heart of effective and authentic on air delivery. The audience know immediately when words are being used to obfuscate or cloak reality – it often seems a ragbag collection of politicians, chief execs and PR “experts” are the last people on earth to realise it.

Take Jeremy Hunt on Laura Kuenssberg’s Sunday morning programme yesterday. There can’t have been many of us who heard the line, “We’re going to have to ask all government departments to find more efficiencies than they’d planned” and not know precisely what he’s really saying.

I was talking about this the other day with a delegate and he described it – brilliantly – as language laundering. That’s exactly what it is. And it’s a sure-fire way to alienate your audience.