Last week in a Better Business Writing class, two people writing separate documents used the word bandwidth at the same time. Neither one of them was referring to “the transmissions capacity of an electronic communications device.” Both were referring to time, I think.
Their uses of bandwidth were similar to these:
- Jason will take over most of the receptionist’s duties. However, he will not have the bandwidth to order refreshments for meetings.
- Our customers use our service because they do not have the bandwidth to research products on their own.
Jason does not have bandwidth? Customers do not have bandwidth? Those sentences make me worry that Jason and our customers have limited abilities and poor time-management skills. I don’t like to think of them that way.
How about “Jason will be working on team goals and will not be available to order refreshments” and “Our customers are using their time well, focusing on what they do best”? I feel much better thinking of Jason and our customers as smart, successful professionals rather than people stretched beyond their “bandwidth.”
I read about the bland overuse of bandwidth years ago, but it wasn’t until last week’s Better Business Writing class that I witnessed two savvy women using it at the same time.
Enough! Ban bandwidth from your vocabulary unless you mean, well, bandwidth. There are so many accurate, apt words to choose from.
Are you seeing bandwidth in the writing at your workplace? Please share your experience.