'I'm So Excited!' Executives Are in a Tizzy Over Their Announcements

December 1, 2014

[lwa/blend images/corbis]
[lwa/blend images/corbis]

Have you noticed how excited corporate spokespeople are these days? And if not excited, how pleased, proud and delighted they are? Some are even thrilled. Or at least that’s what they say in their executive quotes. In a recent 30-day period, Business Wire posted press releases with:

• 1,284 pleases,

including: ‘“Discovery Education is pleased to partner with the Adobe Foundation to share this unique and innovative program with our network of educators nationwide,’ said Mary Rollins, vice president, Discovery Education.”     

• 1,007 exciteds,

including: ‘“We’re excited to officially welcome Wyse to Dell and help extend its industry-leading efforts to a broader range of customers and partners,’ said Jeff Clarke, Dell vice chairman and president, Global Operations and End User Computing Solutions.”

• 782 prouds,

including: ‘“CFS Clinical is proud to offer breakthrough solutions featuring technology specifically designed by industry experts for our space,’ states Greg Seminack, president and managing partner of CFS Clinical.”

• 401 thrilleds,

including: ‘“We are thrilled to welcome Det Norske Teatret as our first partner in Norway,’ said Jeff Koets, vice president of sales and marketing at AudienceView.”

• 378 delighteds,

including: ‘“We are delighted that Grand Hyatt will be part of Ciudad Empresarial Sarmiento Angulo, which will be one of Bogota’s premier commercial projects,’ said Pat McCudden, senior vice president, real estate and development for Hyatt Hotels & Resorts.”

Contain yourself

So what’s wrong with expressing your executive’s enthusiasm about your organization’s partnerships, executives, solutions or hotels?

These quotes are clichés. Fill-in-the-blank PR quotes make readers’ eyes glaze over.

They don’t say anything. These quotes just repeat the announcement. They don’t move your argument forward or cover new ground.

Nobody cares how you feel about your organization and its accomplishments.

So instead of telling me how excited you are, why don’t you tell me something that makes me excited?

Overcome the emotion

To repair these quotes, take these two steps:

• Try a different word.

When you find yourself writing “I’m delighted that …,” substitute “titillated,” “intoxicated,” “overly” “emotional,” “worked up,” “delirious,” “verklempt,” “aflutter” or “agog.” OK, that’s not really a tip. But I want you to do it anyway.

• Rewrite the quote to excite the reader.

Focus on how your ‘whozit’ or ‘whatzit’ is going to change the reader’s life.That’s something to get worked up about.

Fix lame quotes

While you’re at it, why not make these other improvements to your executive quotes? Ensure that they are:

• Short:

Keep quotes to two sentences. Even better: “Peel back the quote to one great sentence,” suggested Jacqui Banaszynski, associate managing editor at The Seattle Times.

• Rare:

“Too many good ideas are buried in Dilbert-esque releases because…every corporate executive gets quoted,” observed Alison Harris, publisher, Call Center News.

• Personable:

One frustrated PR pro wrote: “Most quotes in press releases sound like the teacher in Charlie Brown cartoons: ‘Wah wah wah wah.’” Don’t let that happen to your executive quotes.

Copyright © 2014 Ann Wylie. All rights reserved.


Catch Your Readers

Want more techniques for getting the word out with the feature-style story structure? Join Ann Wylie for “Catch Your Readers,” a one-day PRSA professional development seminar, on Dec. 8 in New York.

Ann Wylie

Ann Wylie (WylieComm.com) works with communicators who want to reach more readers and with organizations that want to get the word out. To learn more about her training, consulting or writing and editing services, contact her at ann@WylieComm.com.


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