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Law firm management

Why Would You Get Hit By a Bus? (And other uses of cliches)

By Careers, Law firm management

Today must have been the day for buses. On at least three occasions, I read the phrase, “In case I get hit by a bus.” My mother used to tell me that. Only she added that I had to be sure to be wearing clean underwear just in case.
I commented to my husband that I was reading a lot of cliches lately. He asked me, “Why do people think they would get hit by a bus? Why not get hit by a bicycle? Or a food truck? Why a bus?” I didn’t have the answer. I did think it was a good question. But I really didn’t have an answer.
Which got me to thinking: why do people use so many cliches? A cliche, for example, is saying, “bless you” every time someone sneezes. Do you really mean God should jump off that comfy couch in the sky and personally bless you? Do you pay any attention deep down inside when someone says “bless you” in response to your sneeze? No. You don’t. You say, “Thank you” to be polite. The exchange is done and frankly, immediately forgotten.
It’s the same when using cliches as you write. In business communications, readers do not pay attention to cliches. The mind, having seen the phrase so many times, is desensitized. It skips right over the phrase, sometimes ignoring it completely. If you want people in your firm to pay attention and think that you are a leader, you’re going to have to change the way you write.

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