WOTYa reckon about these

WOTYa reckon about these

Christmas-New Year has many delights for communicators. Spending a day on a suitable salutation for my festive season emails only resulted in “goodwill to all” and “peace on Earth” remaining my abiding messages. Clichéd to some, but hopefully heartfelt and enduring to others.

Other highlights of this period include the quotes of the year and the various words of the year (WOTY) lists. 

My dictionary of choice is Collins, and its lexicographers monitor the 4.5 billion-word Collins Corpus to create an annual list of new and notable words that reflect ever-evolving preoccupations. Its 2018 WOTY was single-use. Others to make the Collins list were backstop (noun: a system that will come into effect if no other arrangement is made), floss(noun: a dance in which people twist their hips in one direction while swinging their arms in the opposite direction with the fists closed) and gaslight (verb: to attempt to manipulate a person by continually presenting them with false information until they doubt their sanity).

Oxford named toxic as its word of the year, but the runner-up surprised me, incel (a label for people unhappy at being involuntarily celibate). To arrive at its winning word, Cambridge’s editors shortlisted four words from the year’s new additions to the online version, and then asked its blog readers to weigh in. The word that received the most votes was nomophobia (noun: fear or worry at the idea of being without a mobile phone or unable to use it).

Merriam-Webster’s WOTY was justice, based on it being consulted more than any other throughout 2018. Included in Merriam-Webster’s shortlist was nationalism, pansexual, maverick and lodestar.

Dot Wordsworth, writer of Spectator’s “Mind Your Language” column nominated shouty as her WOTY. “It identifies a trait that people dislike yet are given to,” she explained. “It belongs to an informal register (like not wearing a tie). Protesters are literally shouty, and metaphorically so are capital letters …” I can’t wait to tell my next writing workshop that overuse of capital letters is not only incorrect, but shouty.

Quote of the year for mine was difficult but I kept going back to senior management argy-bargy at the national broadcaster. In relation to the performance of the ABC’s chief economic correspondent Emma Alberici, then-chairman Justin Milne sent an email to then-managing director Michelle Guthrie telling her to discuss “external career development opportunities” with Ms Alberici. 

I bet it’s already in most HR handbooks.

So goodwill to all, and don’t let shouty business communication in your workplace lead to a toxic situation where people are discussing external career development opportunities.