“We have the best b2b killer app on the planet. It is to die for. In my face time with customers they said this is a no brainer. In a heartbeat, we’ll leave the competition dead meat. It’s a zero sum game. We’ll take no prisoners. Many dollars will show up on the bottom line as we offer 24/7 real-time support.
To monetize this idea we just pick a target and execute against it. Lose the ‘been there, done that’ attitude. If you tell me, ‘Let’s not go there.’ I’ll say to you, ‘Work with me here, get over it, or get a life.’ Frankly, it’s my way or the highway.”
Does that kind of talk scare you? Would you like to work for or buy things from a company that uses language like that? Yet we hear these phrases a lot in business presentations.
In recent years, we’ve seen an increase in business jargon that has a very harsh, impersonal tone to it. These phrases worm their way into our language almost without our awareness.
Over the years we've watched how our language evolves. In many ways the changes we’re seeing reflect growing cynicism and toughness. The images often are metaphors for war and death. The question is, do we really mean to say that? If not, how can we avoid having our own language infected with these word viruses?
Step #1: Awareness. Pay attention to language used in speeches, conversation, and the media.
Step #2: Make a conscious choice about what you want to say and how you want to be perceived in the minds of your listeners. For starters, let’s analyze some of the language in the above example:
- b2b—business to business
- killer app—a leading application on the planet—in the world
- face time—personal meeting
- no brainer—it’s easy
- in a heartbeat—instantly
- dead meat—out of the competition
Anyway, you get the idea. How could we rewrite that paragraph in a less hip, cynical, and harsh way, but with the same meaning? Let’s try this:
“We have the best business to business software application in the world. In my meetings with customers, they say we can easily beat the competition. If we move fast, we’ll be very profitable because of our full time, around-the-clock support. To make this idea work, we’ll have to choose our strategy and get started. Let’s be willing to try new things. I’ll need your full support on this.”