February 2014

Seven Words NOT to Use in Proposals

Guest author David Whitemyer, AIA is a Contributing Editor to PSMJ Resources, Inc., a licensed architect, and project manager of a Boston-area design firm.  He can be reached at dwhitemyer@psmj.com. 

Like fashion and music, business buzzwords and clichés go through trends and patterns.  And what happens after too much use is that one-time interesting words become bland and meaningless. 

Here are seven words that have been so overused in A/E proposals in the last decade that you should stop using them, and come up with something new. 

1.  Collaborative - Every single one of your competitors is telling prospective clients that their process is "collaborative".  Instead, be specific about how you enjoy and expect the client to be involved in the project process.  Provide an example about a project where the client was part of your team. 

2.  Innovative - If your architecture or engineering solution isn't "innovative", then it's probably ordinary, commonplace, and typical.  Client's expect---and deserve---that your solutions be innovative.  Instead, provide a few specific examples of unique project solutions from your portfolio. 

3.  Quality - "Quality" is becoming a bad word because it's often used without a qualifier.  Stating that your firm works towards "quality" on all of its projects could mean that it works towards low quality.  Everything has a quality.  Instead, say "high quality", "exceptional quality", or "unique quality". 

4.  Guarantee - This is a dangerous word.  Just ask your lawyer.  A design solution cannot guarantee a goal.  And since construction is left to GC's and specialty fabricators, you can't warranty your work.  Instead, be clear that your firm will meet the terms of the contract and scope of services. 

5.  Best-practices - You certainly better be utilizing the industry's best practices!  What's the alternative?  Worst-practices?  Average practices?  This term is pure business buzz-speak and should be crushed.  Instead, describe the tools and processes with which your firm practices.

6.  Engaging - Why does your design solution or your project process need to be engaging?  What does that even mean?  If you and your client are working through a project, clearly you're both engaged in the process.  Instead, if necessary, use words like " energetic", "enjoyable", or "exciting". 

7.  Out-of-the-box - Like "best practices",  this term is pure nothingness and should never be used again.  Clients are paying for your creativity and ingenuity.  It goes without saying that you'll think outside of rigid solutions.  Instead, describe your creative process. 

David reminds us of an important life lesson...words matter.  He speaks eloquently about overused words in A/E marketing efforts for the last decade.  What other practice management status quo methods are you continuing to use?  Are you stuck in the 80's and 90's using spreadsheets, file folders, 3 ring binders, etc. to manage your credentials?  If so, we can save you time and money.  Visit AECredentialing.com

Celebrating "Discover Engineers Week" 2014

From MATHCOUNTS® an exercise quiz to get you in shape!


Skye participates in an annual triathlon to benefit her favorite charity.  In this year's triathlon, Skye's time to complete the first event, swimming 750 meters, was exactly 16 minutes 30 seconds.  In kilometers per hour, what was Skye's average swimming speed during this event?  Express your answer as a decimal to the nearest hundredth.

The answer to this quiz will appear in "The Credential" March 2014.

License Renewal Dates

Jurisdiction License Renewal Due Date -





Engineers: Jurisdiction License Renewal
Due Date -




Louisiana, Texas

Landscape Architects:

License Renewal Due Date -





If your license renews on your date of birth this month, or by state requirement when your license origination occurred, it's time to renew. 



We are pleased to announce a new feature appearing in each personalized monthly Credentials Report.  For your convenience and professional support, we are providing links to the three top nationally recognized online continuing education providers for the Architecture, Engineering, Landscape Architecture and Commercial Construction community. 


Housekeeping Note:
  If your address, phone number  or email
address has changed please notify your credentials agencies. 

Contact Details: 

LS Credentialing Services, WBE Certified, P.O. Box 91, Olathe, KS 66051


Join us in our efforts to go "green".  Think before you print.