The ‘Elevate’ Buzzword: Get Off The Elevator

the 'elevate' buzzword

The ‘elevate’ buzzword addiction is yet another example of corporate copycatting. It might have been original, once, as an extension of ‘take it to the next level’ (and aren’t we all tired of that one?) Now, at best, it’s overused; at worst, its use is often meaningless and just plain silly.

The problem with the ‘elevate’ buzzword

The main problem is the complete lack of thought. The elevate buzzword is still a verb. If something is to be ‘elevated’, there is a literal meaning implied, whether the writer wants there to be or not. Ignore this and the phrase or title becomes nonsense.

There are dozens of examples on every page of a search. Here are just two examples I heard / read recently:

  • Elevate your living space (add a mezzanine, perhaps?)
  • Elevate your staff development (send them to a mountain retreat?)

You get the idea.

The solution

There are dozens of alternatives to the imperative ‘Elevate your … (insert just about anything and everything here)’.

The simple solution really is simple: say what you mean.

Depending on what, precisely, you want to say, some quick fixes (replacements) might be:

  • Improve / enhance
  • Transform / reimagine
  • Revitalise / re-energise
  • Renovate / refresh /renew

And just when you thought it was safe

One confused writer produced this sentence:
I came away from the session feeling totally elevated.

I don’t know what kind of ‘session’ it was (maybe she left on a ‘high’) but the context told me the word she was probably looking for was ‘elated’.

All this started me thinking about other words related to lift or raise (and they’ve been used quite a lot, too). Then I thought of ….

But no, that would be ridiculous. One quick ‘Google’ later, though, and there it was:
Are you looking to ascend your business to the next level?

A clumsy continuous present tense, a buzzword, a wrongly used transitive verb and a cliché, all in one hit.

Your challenge: How would you fix this one?

I can’t finish without quoting the most absurd example (used to market an online course):
Elevate Your Deep Learning

Raising something that’s deep sounds remarkably like a call to undo whatever you’ve just been doing.

Maybe it’s about making something ‘deeply, deeply superficial’.

Unless there’s a sneaky trick I’m missing.

Look at more tips to help you Lift Your language.

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