This Business Writing Tip is Freaking Elite

Posted by on Jun 28, 2014 in Business Writing | 0 comments

This Business Writing Tip is Freaking Elite

I’ve dedicated more of my life than I care to admit to an admittedly fringe sport that requires much more athleticism than the public realizes and may or may not involve a Frisbee. In fact, this sport may or may not have just received official IOC recognition earlier in the week. And my old, slow ass may or may not have tossed a pretty sick behind the backer from my knees for a goal in a summer league game earlier this week – prompting the following response from my buddy Jared to a teammate who’d missed it.

“Don’t worry. If you didn’t see it, he’ll be telling us all about it for years. Watch – he’ll figure out a way to work it into his damn blog on creative writing.”

Jared, you are a freaking soothsayer. You say sooth.

So why am I talking about Ultimate Frisbee in a writing blog other than to highlight my wicked awesome play in a lame attempt to convince myself that I’m still good? It’s all because of a single word.

That word? ELITE.

Many of you may be surprised to learn that there are top-level Ultimate teams in just about every major city who travel all over the United States to battle against each other for the club national championship each year. In the men’s division, two of those teams reside in my hometown of Pittsburgh. And one of them has the annoying habit of always describing everything they do as “elite.”

(In the interest of full disclosure, I played on the OTHER Pittsburgh team for the last two years.)

Seriously, there isn’t a single article, email, or press release about them that doesn’t say, “Pittsburgh’s Elite Men’s Ultimate team makes an elite run through an elite tournament because of their elite skills and general overall eliteness.”

“Man, we thought we couldn’t get any more elite,” said team captain Eli Teness. “But then we managed to find a whole different level of eliteness. Like we kicked our eliteness into elite overdrive and just out elited all the other teams because they weren’t quite as elite as we are.”

And I mean, they’re good. They’re very good. In fact, I’m going to go ahead and say that they are in fact elite. So what’s the problem?

The problem is that I’m not the one saying that they’re elite. THEY’RE the ones saying they’re elite. And uh, that’s just kind of… what’s the word I’m looking for?

Eh, the first thing that popped into my mind was kind of harsh. Let me flip through my Thesaurus here for something softer… Damn it, it doesn’t have any synonyms for douchey.

Yeah, so I’ll just skip that part.

So what’s the point? As a writer, what can you learn from the elite Pittsburgh Men’s Ultimate Team? Well, there’s a lot you can learn, especially as a business writer or marketing director. And that lesson is – nobody likes the guy who goes around telling everyone how handsome he is. Let OTHER people heap accolades on the business. If you’re going to use higher-tier praise words like “elite,” have it come in a quote from a customer or another professional.

For instance, the following is totally cool to put on your website…

“Cupcake World has truly evolved into one of Denver’s elite dessert establishments.” – Willard T. Plumptummy, Good Eats Denver Magazine

What’s not cool to put on your website is…

“At Cupcake World, our cupcakes truly ascend into the realm of elite.”

See the difference there? It’s just one of those things. The business doesn’t have the authority to internally make that claim without sounding,…

Still trying to come up with a synonym for douchey…

But you get the point. There are all kinds of great adjectives you can use to describe your business, or the business that’s hired you.


All those terms are cool to use. Using the word “elite” is only a problem because it promotes exclusivity and you don’t just invite yourself into an exclusive club. Typically, other people have to grant you access.

“Hey there bouncer, I know I don’t have a VIP pass, but you can take it from me that I’m VERY freaking important. So out of the way Creatine Dan.”

What? You ended up underneath a dumpster with a broken scapula? You don’t say.

Anyway, I can’t believe how elite this blog turned out. And it just goes to prove how freaking elite the Pittsburgh Elite Men’s Ultimate Team actually is. Simply by being so elite, they’ve spawned the most elite article in the history of the Internet.

And how do I know it’s the most elite article in the history of the Internet?

Because I freaking said so.

That’s not an obnoxious claim at all.

OBNOXIOUS! YES! YES! That’s the word I was searching for all along. I knew I didn’t have to use douchey.

That’s a relief.

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