IABC World Conference in Toronto

I am just back from speaking at the International Association of Business Communicators World Conference in Toronto where I had the pleasure of meeting a fantastic group of professional communicators.

Over this week I hope to post a number of key leanings and interesting information that was shared and discussed at the conference.

The first key note speaker was Mike Walsh a leading digital futurist and authority on building businesses for the 21st century. Rather than focusing on the distant future, Mike takes an anthropological approach - scanning the near horizon for emerging technologies and disruptive shifts in human behavior, and then translating these into pragmatic plans for business transformation.

One of the interesting anecdotes Mike shared was the list of words General Motors instructed their staff not to avoid using. The list included the following 68 words:

annihilate, apocalyptic, asphyxiating, bad, Band-Aid, big time, brakes like an “X” car, cataclysmic, catastrophic, Challenger, chaotic, Cobain, condemns, Corvair-like, crippling, critical, dangerous, deathtrap, debilitating, decapitating, defect, defecti ve, detonate, disemboweling, enfeebling, evil, eviscerated, explode, failed, flawed, genocide, ghastly, grenadelike, grisly, gruesome, Hindenburg, Hobbling, Horrific, impaling, inferno, Kevorkianesque, lacerating, life-threatening, maiming, malicious, mangling, maniacal, mutilating, never, potentially-disfiguring, powder keg, problem, rolling sarcophagus (tomb or coffin), safety, safety related, serious, spontaneous combustion, startling, suffocating, suicidal, terrifying, Titanic, unstable, widow-maker, words or phrases with a biblical connotation, you’re toast

The list appeared first in training presentations for GM staff in 2008 and GM state their culture has changed significantly since then!! We certainly hope so! 

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