If you’re sick of that eye-glazing GOBBLEDYGOOK in press releases, speeches, memos, and website copy, take heart: A clever new software program called Bullfighter helps America’s hired pens dump the gaseous jargon for clear, effective communication.
The brainchild of Deloitte Consulting, Bullfighter is a free download (www.dc.com) that acts like a spelling or grammar checker in Microsoft Word, PowerPoint 2000, and Windows XP. The Bull Composite Index rates writing from zero (mind-numbing blather) to 10 (simple, direct, and clear). If a document is larded with no-brainer buzzwords like synergies and incentivize, Bullfighter waves the red flags.
To compile their dictionary of offending Bull words, the in-house masochists at Deloitte conducted an internal contest and picked 350 words from 10,000 entries. Running the resulting software on documents from dozens of Dow 30 companies, they made a heartening discovery: Companies that favored no-Bull prose tended to perform better than companies awash in bushwa.
It’s just proof that George Orwell was right in his famous essay, “Politics and the English Language.” When our true purposes won’t stand the sunshine, we veil them in clouds of vague verbiage. Businesses seeking that all-important “transparency” for customers should take heed of this mission-critical repurposing. Whoops. Perhaps some of the rest of us can benefit from it, too.