Nine Easy Ways To Make Your Customers Happy

The Sundance Company                                                                
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs throughout the Boise Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime locations in the Boise metropolitan area. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.

15 Reasons Why The Office Still Matters

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After working from home and collaborating at a distance, the importance of the workplace and all that it offers has become clear: An office is more than just a place to work. The workplace drives innovation and growth and fosters culture and sense of community, while providing the tools and resources people need to be truly productive. There are countless benefits to having a physical place that brings an organization’s people together. Here are just 15 reasons why the workplace matters.

1. Growth: The post-COVID economy has introduced a season of survival for companies, but the pivot back to growth mode will be here soon. Growth depends on innovation, and that’s fueled when creative people come together to collaborate on design sprints, prototyping and testing. At the same time, as leaders shift and change strategies, war rooms and in-person strategy camps provide places to establish new priorities, rally around a vision and set the stage for growth.

2. Innovation: Research shows that successful innovation is place-based and incorporates a variety of business functions, issues and actions from adjacent or connected internal organizations. Workplace design fosters these connections and promotes innovative activities like building models, sharing content, testing prototypes, iterating in real time, collecting annotations and ideas and building on the collective efforts of the team. Two-dimensional technology simply cannot move the needle like three-dimensional interactions can.

3. Culture: Experiences shape behaviors, and behaviors over time is culture. The collective behaviors and norms of an organization, from both leaders and employees, create an ethos distinct to that group of people. The coalescing of diverse points of view, spontaneous hallway meetings and lunch with coworkers provide opportunities for storytelling, relationship building and teaching — things that can’t be replicated through a screen.

4. Resilience: COVID-19 has proven resilience is more important than ever. Having a strong cultural foundation and spaces outfitted to promote in-person decision making is key to an organization’s ability to shift gears and resources to support unexpected disruptions. Strong, decisive leadership and healthy teams are the backbone to an innovative, flexible and resilient workplace that can bend but not break.

5. Creativity: Creativity is the innate and uniquely human ability to generate ideas, solve difficult problems, identify opportunities and imagine something better. In contrast to a siloed, stilted, solo experience lacking the right tools, creativity flourishes when technology and space come together to support thinking and doing at every stage of the brainstorming process.

6. Collaboration: Collaboration is a key, place-based business behavior with direct ties to growth and innovation. Laddering on each other’s ideas, using sticky notes to brainstorm and bringing others along through discussion and whiteboarding helps evolve, distill and solidify new concepts. Body language and other unspoken behaviors provide social cues that can be easily missed when not in person. When every meeting starts and ends on time, there is no room for serendipity.

7. Digital Transformation: If companies weren’t thinking about digital transformation before COVID-19, they certainly are now. Organizations have been forced to compete and manage a range of disruptions — internal and external, domestic and global. They’re launching new business models, establishing war rooms and equipping team rooms with a bias for face-to-face interactions. Especially in times of stress or crisis, there’s no substitute for coming together to quickly address, assess and solve problems.

8. Connection: While working from home provides a certain measure of privacy, it can also lead to isolation, loneliness and depression. Without the support teams and group work provide, people are left feeling disconnected and disengaged. Attrition rises, leaving the company scrambling to identify new talent and quickly fill key roles. At the same time, people who don’t interact with others or participate in the workplace risk becoming irrelevant, undervalued or overlooked. These factors don’t just impact the individual and his/her career path, they impact a company’s ability to fill the talent pipeline, make contingency plans and identify future leaders. Having a place to create meaningful connections is more important than ever.

9. Agility: Agile work helps teams adapt quickly with rapid learning cycles, but this requires both an ecosystem of spaces to support different steps of learning and a level of iteration and collaboration that happens best in person. As ideas evolve and prototypes emerge, the ability to flex and move furniture is critical to helping teams come together in ways that support their fast-paced, ever-changing work.

10. Communication: It’s true communication can take place over technology, but we believe something is lost in a constant two-dimensional world. Online platforms, texting and an array of apps designed to support teams is necessary infrastructure, but there are dangers, too. Constant screen or phone use can lead to fatigue, zoning out and even reduced productivity. Staying in touch is vital for forward momentum, and there’s no real substitute for face-to-face communication.

11. Attract & Retain: The workplace is a key tool to help organizations attract, retain and engage talent. Not only is space an expression of the company, it sends important cultural signals about what new talent can expect in your organization. Is there choice and control? Are there social spaces to meet with teammates? While technology can help with some elements, like onboarding, it’s hard to build community and nurture the kinds of relationships needed to engage talent and strengthen teams.

12. Wellbeing: Spaces make us feel cared for, can promote a sense of calm or communicate the need to get to work. The floorplan of a space can promote movement and offer ergonomic support, and a well-designed space can provide emotional and psychological protection. A strategy to promote employee wellbeing should include attention to space and its impact on people. Leaving “work at work” is a healthy way to create much needed work-life balance.

13. Distributed Work: Working across time zones, intruding into people’s homes and managing noise and visual distractions creates presence disparity and challenges a team’s ability to focus. Voices are cut off, people inadvertently talk over each other, don’t realize they’re muted or one person dominates the conversation, unable to detect body language cues or cultural norms. Space provides a richer in-room experience that supports and equalizes teamwork, making the office a collaborative destination.

14. Technology Integration: Immersive ecosystems designed to bring people and technology together in one place not only boost productivity but support new ways of working. Integrated technology and high-performance products provide additive qualities without the clunky features of afterthought spaces with hastily added, non-optimized technology.

15. Change Management: While communicating change can be done over technology, the best change management practices come through modeling new behaviors and reinforcing expectations together. Unplanned hallway conversations, storytelling and time before and after meetings are valuable opportunities to make connections during a time of uncertainty. Demonstrating desired outcomes, learning together and “walking the walk” will always be more powerful than words alone.

A workplace is so much more than the sum of people, technology, architecture & furniture. A well-designed space supports all the different ways we work and brings people and technology together to boost productivity, enhance wellbeing and build trust through face-to-face interactions. As organizations adapt to the changes they face while working through this pandemic, we have an opportunity to bring people together at a time they most need human connections and to help businesses move forward.

Portions of this article originally appeared on the Steelcase website.

The Sundance Company                                                                
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs throughout the Boise Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime locations in the Boise metropolitan area. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.

Steps For A Better Work-Life Balance

The Sundance Company                                                                
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs throughout the Boise Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime locations in the Boise metropolitan area. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.

Why CRE Companies Need To Be Technology Leaders

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Using innovative technology is no longer a “bonus” or an “extra feature” that commercial real estate (CRE) companies can offer to their clients or use in their workspaces. In today’s market, sticking to software, methodologies, products and technology that have worked in the past is simply not enough. CRE companies have to be at the forefront of technology for many reasons, but the main one is this: It has become the expectation.

Why? Tenants are expecting it. Vendors and contractors are expecting it. Your competition is hoping you don’t use it. As an industry that has been historically slow to adopt new technology, CRE companies no longer have that luxury. To stay relevant in an innovative and rapidly growing market, the only option is to embrace technology and use it to dramatically shift the way commercial real estate companies meet the needs of their clients.

Commercial Real Estate And Technology: A (Slow) History

Traditionally, CRE companies have gotten away with doing business with minimal technology. Using old-fashioned spreadsheets, basic data analysis, bookkeeping software and time-consuming research methods have kept the commercial real estate business in the dark ages when it comes to technology. There are a few reasons that CRE companies have been reluctant to jump into the 21st century when it comes to technology:

1. The commercial real estate industry is a giant industry made up of many different internal industries. Trying to design, create and implement technology that caters to all of these different niches and facets of CRE can seem complicated and overwhelming.

2. While it’s safe to say that CRE industries have been late to adopt a lot of the same technologies that other industries have been using for a while, it’s not because there is a lack of technology to choose from. In fact, the issue is just the opposite. There is already so much research and so much technology and so many options that can push CRE companies into this new wave of technology that it couldn’t seem more impossible to choose the right one.

3. CRE companies that do make the jump to adopt new technological advances quickly run into another problem: integration. How will they apply these new methods to their existing business model?

4. Leaders in the CRE industry are always aware of cost versus expenses. And it’s no secret that technology can be expensive. This is another reason why so many are hesitant to upgrade their current systems.

Is Technology Disruptive To The CRE Industry?

In any industry, and at any time, there are always disruptors. Disruptors are products or services that when introduced to the market, find a way to replace a more conventional and traditional product or service. Real estate is a people-centered business, and some CRE companies worry that adding technology will diminish this authentic aspect of the industry.

But technology is not something that should be feared in the real estate industry. While technology will change the way people are buying and selling commercial real estate, the power is in a company’s response to the change. In fact, companies that are proactive in embracing new technology and implementing digital transformation into their existing business models have shown a 50% higher return on investment than those who are simply reacting to new surges of technology.

Modern CRE companies have two choices: They can see the addition of technology to their businesses as an overwhelming and scary change to what they’ve always known, or they can embrace it. Emerging technologies are quickly becoming what sets real estate companies apart from their competitors and are vital in reshaping the way real estate works.

How CRE Companies Can Invest In Tech

Knowing why it is so important for CRE companies to invest in technology — and some of the reasons so many don’t — is the first step toward a more high-tech industry. The next step is understanding some of the ways technology can improve productivity, client satisfaction, tenant retention and efficiency.

  • Data Management: Successful investors understand the importance of accurate and efficient data management. Commercial real estate investors need instant access to data and predictive analysis to make confident and informed decisions in an ever-changing market. Using innovative technology to help with data management takes a lot of the guesswork out of things like property values, rent values, occupancy rates and return rates.
  • Contract Management: Purchasing commercial real estate is one thing, but handling the contracts is something completely different. If you’re investing in more than one commercial property, you need technology to help keep it all organized. For long-term success, you need seamless ways to build strategic relationships, streamline contract processes, lower administrative costs, automate contract management phases and reduce risk. Is your old way of managing contracts doing all of those things?
  • Advancements In Leasing Software: Lease administration software has made some big changes over the last decade and trying to manage modern lease agreements on outdated software will only leave you and your tenants feeling underequipped. Updated leasing software streamlines processes such as rent collection, invoicing and tenant communication.

CRE companies can’t afford to lag in technology anymore. Technology is what will continue to separate top-performing CRE companies from those that are barely making it. Technology — and the adoption of it into an existing business model — is what will bring commercial property investors into the modern age of business. But most importantly, the willingness to adapt and modify current strategies to make room for technology will be what puts owners of CRE companies ahead of the game.

Portions of this article originally appeared on the Forbes website.

The Sundance Company                                                                
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs throughout the Boise Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime locations in the Boise metropolitan area. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.

How To Combat Distractions At Work

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Here’s a question for you: what are the chances that you’ll get distracted while reading this article?

Chances are you will. Surveys show that 3 out of 4 of workers feel distracted throughout the day, with working environment, co‐workers, calls, emails, deadlines and social media notifications being some of the top causes.

Many of us experience dips in focus and productivity when distracted, which can lead to missed deadlines, lower energy levels and increased stress.

Thanks to constant interruptions, we struggle to find the tools necessary to focus throughout the day. The Pomodoro Technique, developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s, might provide a solution. A time management method and productivity system, the technique encourages people to focus on a concentrated task for 25 minutes with the help of a timer.

The timer guides your focus and then rewards you with a five‐minute break. It’s during this time that I would encourage clients to stand up, move around and stretch to break up prolonged sitting and sedentary activity.

Although there are a variety of Pomodoro apps available – a simple search for ‘Pomodoro timer’ will present you with a range of apps – one of my favorites is Forest, because it utilizes playful gamification; notifications serve as a gentle reminder when you break your focus time, and it also ends up showing the destruction of a virtual tree; harsh!

Furthermore, it blocks your access to social media. Other apps, such as Pomodor, enable you to use the technique on your desktop, while Marinara Timer allows you to work in teams.

Once you find an app that works for you, you’ll find that you’re likely to feel less stressed and more energized by the end of your working day. Whether you’re working from home or you’re back in the office, over time you’ll train yourself to become more focused and, ultimately, more productive.

Portions of this article originally appeared on the OnOffice website.

The Sundance Company                                                                
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs throughout the Boise Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime locations in the Boise metropolitan area. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.

How To Make Yourself Work When You’re Not Feeling It

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The Sundance Company                                                                
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs throughout the Boise Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime locations in the Boise metropolitan area. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.

A Simplified History of Everything

The Sundance Company                                                                
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs throughout the Boise Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime locations in the Boise metropolitan area. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.

Glass Solutions: The Most Desired Workplace Design Element

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Natural light in the workplace is a growing trend, and the use of glass is becoming the go-to solution. But glass can offer more beyond just aesthetics and design. The full ecosystem of glass solutions offers functionality, from the glass itself to the hardware that accompanies it. It enhances the utility of the space you’re working in, allowing for more open communication and line of sight. The use of glass has many benefits in the workplace, from the layout and functionality of the space, to the energy and mood it provides its occupants.

Designing for Wellness

In the workplace, daylighting, the use of natural light to reduce traditional electrical lighting, continues to be increasingly common. Not only does it reduce energy consumption and offer a sustainable option that many consumers are seeking, its impact on personal health can be even greater. Studies show that natural light is proven to boost productivity, improve mood and enhance overall well-being, making it high on the list for increased employee experience and performance. In a recent survey conducted by the HR advisory firm Future Workplace, it found that natural light and views of the outdoors outranked other perks, like onsite cafeterias and fitness centers, as the number one attribute to a workplace environment. While the demand for wellness-based designs continue to grow, workplace design trends are shifting away from being private and enclosed to collaborative and open. Glass makes both – wellness and collaboration – possible.

The office environment often reflects a business’s core values and culture. Companies look to strive for collaboration and transparency, which is why we’re seeing so many new open office layouts. Implementing glass solutions increases employee well-being while also maintaining a collaborative feel, which can result in a positive and healthy work environment that can enhance efficiency, communication and collaboration.

Advancing Sustainable Environments

At the end of 2017, one out of every four dollars under professional management in the United States—$12.0 trillion or more—was invested according to sustainable investing strategies. In fact, estimates show that commercial building owners and managers will invest a projected $960 billion globally to make their existing infrastructure more sustainable between 2015 and 2023 to meet the demand for green buildings. As more facility managers, architects and designers seek to go green and promote a lower carbon footprint, glass is becoming a central tenant.

Electrochromic glass, or “smart glass,” uses electricity to change it from opaque to translucent and can be controlled manually or programmed to adjust according to the position of the sun. Aside from the obvious reduction in energy costs from limiting the use of electrical lighting, automatic shading and design in glass curtain walls help reduce the load on a building’s HVAC unit, further reducing energy use and costs.

Using Glass for Human-Centric Design

From onsite gyms, meditation rooms and more, employers are investing in the health and wellness of their workforce. This includes using the design of the space as a way to improve the human experience. WELL certifications, measuring how buildings promote healthy lifestyles and employee wellness, have become the larger goal for designers.

Through glass, architects and business owners can create a dynamic and human-centric environment that feels authentic to the brand and leaves growth for new innovations.

Historically, glass has had limitations in terms of flexibility in installation – limiting its utility and utilization. With the growth of architectural interest for open office design through high ceilings and tall glass doors, breakthroughs in technology and manufacturing have made it feasible to work with the consistency and weight of glass to fit those larger openings and the relevant dimensions that spaces demand.

The increase in compatible products is enabling even more glass incorporations into new building designs and renovations. This includes panic devices to enable greater safety without disrupting the aesthetic appeal of a glass door, to pivots and door closures that are durable for heavy glass to reduce sound transmissions.

Incorporating glass invites light and fluidity into spaces, while also establishing separate rooms without sacrificing the collaborative feeling needed for today’s workforce. With glass, flexibility is inherent. As workplaces continue to evolve across industries, companies can easily reconfigure their space without having to completely renovate in order to accommodate for new office innovations.

Using Glass for Functional Design

With the use of glass environments increasing, custom design options provide the opportunity to modify functional applications, instead of the traditional, one-size-fits-all approach. This gives buildings and shared spaces the function they need without sacrificing the aesthetic.

Designers can employ shaded or frosted glass as a clean and sophisticated way to create private spaces without closing off an area entirely. For example, conference rooms or individual offices can use these features to increase privacy for potential confidential conversations, while keeping the natural and open feel of the overall space.

Additionally, incorporating color into glass or door hardware is a subtle but especially useful tool for tough to navigate spaces, like schools, hospitals and other commercial buildings, where people visit often but may be unfamiliar with the layout of the building. Using different colored glass doors, hardware and partitions can offer savvier wayfinding navigation through a space, leaving out the not-so-aesthetically pleasing signage or floor maps we’re used to seeing in hospitals or parking garages.

Glass solutions can even reinforce a company’s brand or a school’s colors throughout small spaces or large campuses. Beyond customizing the color of the glass, itself, hardware options can also offer a unique solution. From door rails and pulls, to panic devices and new finishes, like matte black, building owners can strengthen brand identity by aligning with the colors in their brand guidelines.

Glass plays a functional role with security as well. In older building designs, glass was used as a security feature, allowing visitors to be seen through doors and walls. Today, electronic access control (EAC) solutions incorporate security software and seamlessly integrate into glass openings for enhanced protection, beyond line of sight.

When it comes to design and functionality, the extent of decorative options and customizations should not be overlooked when thinking through the workplace layout. The desire for bright, open spaces will continue to rise. Through innovations in the glass industry, architects and builders are able to make their design aspirations come true. And beyond design and aesthetic, glass can be customized and enhanced for security and natural light to increase safety, productivity, communication and improve the overall workplace experience.

Portions of this article originally appeared on the WorkDesign Magazine website.

The Sundance Company                                                                
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs throughout the Boise Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime locations in the Boise metropolitan area. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.

The History of the World’s Tallest Freestanding Structures

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The Sundance Company                                                                
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs throughout the Boise Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime locations in the Boise metropolitan area. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.

Nine Words and Phrases You’re Probably Using Wrong

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Many times, especially in business settings, people use words that they think they know — but don’t. Although they do this in an effort to sound intelligent and sophisticated, it backfires badly, because even one small slip-up can cause an audience to focus on only that, not the speaker’s ideas. Sure, saying the wrong word (usually) isn’t a game-changer. But if you make that kind of mistake, it sets you up for a question that no one wants clients, coworkers, or employers to begin asking: “Are you really that smart?”

Think it can’t happen to you? We’ve heard horror stories: people laughing behind a prominent CEO’s back for his not understanding the correct use of a business term; a corporate lawyer saying “tenant” (a renter) instead of “tenet” (a belief); an employee toasting her supervisor as the “penultimate” leader (which doesn’t mean “ultimate” but instead means “next to last”).

Here, excerpted from our new book, That Doesn’t Mean What You Think It Means, are nine terms or words that sound smart but when used incorrectly make you sound the opposite, along with real examples of their being misused, drawn from business news reports, research publications, and corporate press releases. (We’ve omitted attributions to protect the well-meaning writers who unwittingly committed the errors)

begs the question

“Fidelity might have fired the last salvo by eliminating fees entirely. This begs the question as to whether Fidelity’s new funds incur any hidden costs or fees.”

In spite of popular thought, “begs the question” is not a smart-sounding way of saying “raises the question.” It’s actually a formal logic term that means trying to prove something based on a premise that itself needs to be proved. So leave “begs the question” where it technically belongs — in the realm of logic and law — and use the (correct) “raises the question” when that’s what you’re trying to say.

impacts on

“They can clearly and simply explain what we have done and how it impacts on our interpretation of the data, ensuring our reports are understandable and actionable.”

In a 2015 American Heritage Dictionary survey of language experts, 79% disapproved of using “impacts on” to mean “affect.” Another 39% disapproved of using “impact” to mean “affect” even without that preposition “on.” The original (and still most common) meaning of “impact” involves collisions. But nowadays, you can use it to mean “to affect” (without any collisions). But leave out that preposition “on.” That might impact (affect) your business presentation.

in regard(s) to

“[I]n regards to the new well, the production capacity of this first large size production well is remarkable.” 

This sentence is wrong. Not regarding the remarkable production capacity, but regarding “in regards to,” which should be “in regard to.” Even better, just say “regarding” or “about.” (For the record, “regards” with the “s” is correct in the phrase “as regards,” where “regard” is a verb.) In regard to the phrase “in regard to,” regard is a noun, and the singular — without the s — should always be used. The exception is when sending someone good wishes — “best regards” — or when giving your regards to, say, Broadway, as in the song. After all, you probably wouldn’t want to wish Broadway only one regard.

less/fewer

“[S]tart-ups are leaving the heartland and are employing less people.

Technically, at least according to some word snobs, it should be “fewer people,” not “less people.” Why? It all depends on if and what you’re counting. A few basic rules:

  • Use “fewer” for numbered, countable things, especially people or other plural nouns. (“Fewer than 20 people were there.”)
  • Use “less” for things that can’t be counted, at least reasonably. (“There’s less sand at the beach.”)
  • Use “less” with numbers when they are a single or total unit, usually with “than.” (“Less than 50 percent of us went to the meeting.”) This can be tricky, because often you’ll see numbers in the plural — as in “He has less than a million dollars” — that presumably have been counted (as in rule 1). But since here we’re really talking about total amounts of nonhuman things, use less. (Don’t blame us — those are the basic rules that many people follow. Still, it’s all less — not fewer! — difficult than you’d think.)

methodology

“We have…failed to require that the IRS utilize only secure and reliable authentication methodologies…” 

Methodology is an annoying word that has oozed into a lot of places, especially government documents and annual reports, probably because it sounds important…and pretentious. The word to use instead is “method.” The “-logy” tacked onto the end of method transforms it into the study of methods. (That -logy ending comes from the ancient Greek λογίa for “the study of.”) So methodology has its place in English — it’s just that it should stay there and not substitute for method. (One interesting note: The IRS itself, in contrast to the senator speaking about the IRS, almost always uses the word method instead of methodology. Count on tax professionals to use a more economical word.)

moot

“Whether you need to appoint a Data Protection Officer or not is a mute-point.”

Actually, it’s not a mute point at all, because a point isn’t speechless. It should be moot, not mute. But even spelled right, moot is tough to use correctly. The use of moot is, well, moot…and we’re not being cute. What we’re saying is that the meaning of moot is “open to debate” — which is the time-honored definition of moot. But by the mid-1800s, moot also began meaning “something not worth considering.” The idea was that something debatable is of no practical value, so not worth bothering with. So sometimes moot is used to mean “definitely not debatable” because the point is so immaterial. This change in meaning is primarily North American, and it is one that has stuck, although language purists argue about it. Our advice: Choose another word.

statistically significant

Facebook is ‘a positive, significant predictor of divorce rate….’ [T]he study’s authors feel they’re noticing something that’s genuinely statistically significant.”

You see it all the time nowadays: A study has shown something worrisome! The findings are statistically significant! Uh-oh! But statistically significant doesn’t necessarily mean that the results were significant in the sense of “Wow!” It just means that they signify that whatever was observed has only a low probability of being due to chance. The problem is, in non-statistical use, significant means something noteworthy or important. So non-statistical types see “statistically significant” and think it refers to something big. But actually, a study can find something statistically significant that has only a tiny effect. For example, Facebook could increase the risk of divorce by a statistically significant 1%. Big deal.

unique

“The Skyline Group of Companies is one of Canada’s fastest-growing and most unique investment management organizations…

Unique means being the “only one of its kind; unlike anything else.” So, something can’t be the “most unique” — it can only be unique. But times are changing. Some dictionaries, like Merriam-Webster, now also define unique as “extraordinary,” although Merriam-Webster does say that this “common usage is still objected to by some.” Include us in the ranks of the “some” (although we’re not as impassioned as the New York Times book reviewer who called this usage of unique an “indefensible outrage!”). Let’s keep unique meaning, well, unique. For plural things that we want to call unique, we can instead say “unusual” or “exceptional.” So we could say that Skyline is an “exceptional” investment management organization…but let’s leave that to the PR department.

utilize

“Among the goals of the partnership will be to utilize Vium’s technology to track digital biomarkers…”

Substitute “used” for “utilized.” Does it make a difference? The only one we can see is that utilized is longer. So why use it? Yes, “utilize” can be distinguished from “use” when something is serving a purpose that it wasn’t intended for (“She utilized her dead tablet as a doorstop”), but it’s a slight distinction and “use” can still work. Utilize can also mean “to convert to use,” most often in scientific writing. (“The body utilizes carbohydrates.”) Even here, use can work, although it sounds a lot less scientific for some reason. In general, utilize is just a fancy way of saying use, and is usually best not  used at all.

These nine words are only the tip of an iceberg. From “a priori” to “untenable,” words can work for you or against you. And that’s our last (not penultimate!) word, at least in this article, on the words that can trip you up.

Portions of this article originally appeared on the HBR website.

 

The Sundance Company                                                                
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs throughout the Boise Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime locations in the Boise metropolitan area. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.