Precipitevolissimevolmente, or the longest word in Italian (an arguement for short words)

I am going through the process of delivering a high potential leadership workshop for another company this week. It is part of a global initiative for a multinational company with workshops being run in China, Germany, Mexico, Turkey and numerous other locations. The problem is that the designers would love to use words like precipitevolissimevolmente if they could.

It seems that when we were younger our goal was to learn many big words, the bigger the better, in order to express ourselves. This works on a small scale, like when we are in a circle of people how know big words and are all native speakers. We also learn how to write without using complete sentences and without using the active voice in attempts to sound even cooler.

All these become are bad habits when we want to speak across borders and reach a great number of people. In fact the opposite is true. We need to use short words and concise sentences in the active voice. It may be counter-intuitive but the more people we try to reach the dumber we need to sound.


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