Recently, one of my Facebook friends posted this sentiment:
“It is official: I now detest the buzz phrase ‘create insights’ more than ‘outside the box’ or ‘paradigm shift’ Excuse me while I go take some Pepto-Bismol.”
I smiled because in more than 25 years of training people to give compelling presentations, we have heard it all: business jargon that worms its way into our language almost without our awareness.
Unfortunately, our audience IS aware. Face it: you could create your own list of ‘business-speak’ words and phrases just from listening to people at work over the last few weeks. When you hear your colleagues use phrases like “We need to protect our human capital,” “We need blue sky thinking,” “He needs to push the envelope,” or “let’s focus on mission-critical tasks,” what is your reaction? Many of us roll our eyes and don’t take the message as seriously as we could, or should.
I invite you to join me in promoting the use of slower, gentler, less hip language. Maybe read fewer business books and magazines and just focus on being more clear and specific in your language. This is especially critical when working with global audiences, as so many of you do. Trust me, when you say “Let’s push the envelope,” your colleagues for whom English is a second language will have no idea what you are talking about.
Finally, I sure hope this message has created an insight for you. Er, I mean, given you a useful tip.