Ken Goldstein, MPPA

Ken Goldstein has been working in nonprofits and local government agencies from Santa Cruz, to Sacramento, and back to Silicon Valley, since 1989. He's been staff, volunteer, board member, executive director, and, since 2003, a consultant to local nonprofit organizations. For more on Ken's background, click here. If you are interested in retaining Ken's services, you may contact him at ken at

Friday, June 02, 2006

Fighting Mission Statement Bull

In my post on Tuesday, I used the "maximizing synergies for optimum resulting outcomes" as an example of a lousy, jargon-laden mission statement. I just came across a software tool that promises to help get rid of the jargon in your writing.

"Bullfighter" is a Windows program that works with MS Word to find the jargon in your documents and help you eliminate it. How does it work? Here's an excerpt from their FAQ to answer that:
Q: Is there any science behind Bullfighter, or did someone just come with this idea at a bar somewhere? How can I learn more?

A: Yes. The Flesch Reading Ease score is one of the accepted standards for measuring the demands placed on a reader, and the late Dr. Rudolf Flesch is still regarded as an important figure in the field of readability. His book, "How to Write, Speak and Think More Effectively" (Signet, 1960), is an excellent survey of his work. If you want to be a great communicator, we recommend an appointment with Dr. Flesch. Don't bother checking, your medical benefits don't cover visits with deceased linguists.
I haven't had a chance to test out Bullfighter yet (my main machine is a Macintosh, and my Windows machine has WordPerfect), so I can't give you a review on how well it works (or not). But, it is free, so if you're brave enough to find out your bull**** score, give it a try.

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