Weasel Word Wednesday #26 – reach out

Photo: ~diP, Flickr.com

Reach out and touch somebody…

Unfortunately, every time I hear or read the words ‘reach out’ used at work, this song by Aussie rock band Noiseworks pops into my head. As I said, unfortunate.

Instead of asking me to call or contact Jim, people in my organisation are more likely to suggest that I should ‘reach out’ to Jim.

This is one of those phrases that I think reflects a familial culture in the workplace. In my organisation, people generally kiss rather than shake hands. There are other verbals signs. One of those is ‘share’. No one seems to send, email or post something to someone, they ‘share’ it with them. While I like the sentiment, it’s still a fluffy description of what is actually happening. And a teensy bit creepy.

Instead of ‘we have reached out to all our customers’ let’s use ‘we have called/written to/emailed’ or whatever it is that was actually done.

Related to this phrase, I often hear my PR peers in Australia and around the world use the term ‘media outreach’ which basically means calling, meeting or emailing journalists. I guess saying you have ‘implemented a media outreach program’ feels more important than saying you called a bunch of journalists.


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