Hyperbole is deliberate exaggeration used for effect. Much relied upon by advertisers, its short form — hype — means much the same thing. And whilst audiences expect a degree of puffery in advertisements, they demand honesty in business writing.
Most dictionaries also define hype as ‘a deception or racket’ as a noun, or ‘to falsify or rig’ as a verb. Hardly honest.
Much hype results from an over-indulgence in adjectives. If you find your wonderful, gripping and meaningful sentences over-critcised by an evil, odious, malicious boss, remove some ‘describing words’.
The opposite of hype is understatement, either deliberately constructed or produced through ignorance. If you have to impart bad news, be clear, unambiguous and state the facts early. In an internal memo, for instance, don’t gush about “increased productivity improving profitability” (common gobbledegook) before suggesting “corporate downsizing will lead to a reduction in full-time positions”. If you mean you’re about to make redundancies, it’s wrong to understate the issue by hiding behind nonsense phrases. Staff deserve the truth, clearly expressed.
Arguably the finest example of understatement is the 1912 newspaper headline:
J.J. Astor drowned in liner mishap
which referred, of course, to the sinking of the Titanic.
Deliberate exaggeration used for effect? That’s hype, surely?