That’s Intriguing #36: Copywriters, Authors and Speakers: Are Cliche’s Pulling Down the Quality of Your Content?

“Avoid cliche’s like the plague.” – Samuel Goldwyn

Phil Jackson, former coach of the Chicago Bulls, got exasperated with star player Michael Jordan for hogging the ball.

He called him over and said, “C’mon Michael. You had a player under the basket. Why didn’t you pass him the ball? You know, there’s no i in team.”

Michael flashed a grin and said, “Yeah, but there is in WIN!”

Next time you’re tempted to trot out a cliche’, be like Mike.

Turn cliche’s on their head to pleasantly surprise your listeners, viewers or readers.

Audiences are tired of same-old, same-old. As soon as they hear, “It’s nice to be important; but it’s more important to be nice” or “You have to see it to believe it” their eyes start rolling.

I’m not saying the above sentiments aren’t true; they’re just not new.

People will get out their smart phones because they’ve concluded you don’t have anything new to add to the conversation.

You don’t have to avoid cliche’s altogether; just add your own unique twist instead of repeating them verbatim.

Verbally zigging where people expect you to zag will cause people to perk up and pay attention because they don’t know what you’re going to say next.

For example, The Economist magazine uses this as a slogan; “Good minds like a think.”

You probably know Avon’s slogan for their walks to raise money to find a cure for breast cancer: Good things come to those who . . .walk.”

One of my all time favorite examples of this POP! technique is “I think, therefore IBM.”

What’s your favorite example of a cliche’ turned on its head?

Submit your entry asap. The most intriguing entry gets included in the 2010 POP! Hall of Fame.

  1. The early bird gets the squirm! Hey, that just popped into my mind. See what your challenge wrought?

    Here’s how a cliché can work for you:

    Good Conversation Starters: “Haven’t We Met Before?” How to Start a Conversation with a Cliché

    Love your posts and tweets, Sam.

    Happy holidays!
    Warmest aloha,

  2. When I was a police officer my partner and I stopped three male suspects of a robbery at gunpoint. One ran from us and the other two remained on the sidewalk. I chase the running suspect a short distance but lost him in an apartment building. At that moment, I thought that two birds in hand is worth one in the bush. I then returned to my partner.

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