The other day, I described a conference call I’d been on as “interesting.”

By “interesting,” I really meant “completely whacked out that the client didn’t understand why we were doing what we were doing which was exactly what they had asked us to do.”

It struck me just how versatile a word “interesting” really is. I use it a lot in situations where I’ve really meant something or someone is:

  • Off strategy
  • Full of possibilities
  • Ugly
  • Hot
  • Boring
  • Intriguing
  • Completely unclear
  • A great solution
  • Inappropriate
  • Banal
  • Exciting
  • Pathetic
  • Interesting

I’ve also used “interesting” when really thinking:

  • “That’s exactly what you told me yesterday.”
  • “I wasn’t listening to what you just said.”
  • “Huh?”
  • “I don’t think I would have said that.”
  • “I have no idea, but maybe saying ‘interesting’ will buy me time to think of something to say.”

No way around it: “interesting” has to be one of the best multi-use words out there. Maybe it’s just behind the “F” word, which I gave up using (except for the occasional slip-up) a dozen years ago.

How about you – what’s your favorite all-purpose word?Mike Brown

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Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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9 Responses to “What’s the Most Versatile Word in Your Vocabulary?”

  1. Barry Dalton says:

    Interesting post. 🙂 Other meanings “WFT”; “You haven’t got a clue”; “I’m not really listening because I distracted by [fill in the blank]”; “Strange” The list can go on and on. But I’m sure, at this point you’re not listening and muttering “interesting” under your breathe.

    My favorite all purpose word? “Right”

  2. Alex says:

    The obvious comment is… interesting post. 😉

  3. Dave says:

    “indicate”… when referring to an action you’ve taken on the basis of something that someone said, written, or might have said – when you don’t have the direct quote handy – especially when involving a 3rd person.

    “George indicated that you planned to fund the project…”

    It can also be used to confront someone, without attacking them. It takes the focus off the semantics – takes away someone’s retort “I didn’t say that…”, and allows you to focus on the core issue.

    “In our last meeting, you indicated that the TPS reports would be ready by today, what is the plan to get them done and when can I count on them?”

  4. Lynn says:

    I think the word “Challenge” or “Challenging” is up on my list. Usually a royal mess that you are being charged with fixing follows those words.


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