Posts made in August, 2013

Business Gobbledygook Doesn’t Just Happen – It’s A Sign of the Times!

Posted by on Aug 14, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

Business Gobbledygook Doesn’t Just Happen – It’s A Sign of the Times!

According to a recent survey, “thinking outside the box” (to look at things differently) and “going forward” (exploring future prospects) are two of many insufferable management phrases people not only find annoying and an obstacle to procuring new business, but also result in making English Language Puritans criticize the usage of excessive descriptive terminology. While I must admit some examples of business jargon do seem bizarre, other expressions that are claimed to annoy utilize everyday language; either way, I find many phrases or buzzwords to be clever derivatives of longwinded concepts. I’m sure we’re all familiar with terms like brick-and-mortar, cutting-edge, framework, mind-set, negative growth, talking points and vision statement. I like buzzwords! I admit I like buzzwords and believe them to have an important place in our fast-paced society, particularly an evolving discipline like marketing where brevity is essential. The usage of buzzwords is a powerful communication tool, on condition everyone involved shares a common understanding of all that the buzzword encapsulates. Yet if our language becomes distorted with all kinds of gobbledygook that is vaguely understood by only a few, the response is usually legitimate disapproval. It also has the potential to degrade the English language rather than enrich it. Pundits, including renowned authors and university professors, tell us that good business writing should be clear, convincing, and credible. They advise that in order to communicate effectively business writing must avoid clichéd phrases and fabricated buzzwords. However, business communicators claim that jargon serves a valuable purpose; for instance, new terms are concocted to describe specialized concepts like “search engine optimization” and “online content utilization”, which may seem odd to non-tech people but completely rational to those who know what they mean. Most people today are tech-savvy to a certain extent and know to overlook many puffed-up terms and convoluted buzzwords; well-chosen meaningful phrases tend to make an impression and help procure business contracts. Symbolic Language Fear positions itself as a pivotal factor to maintain comfort zones. Breaking out of your comfort zone is all about daring to think beyond the confined constraints of habitual mediocrity, reviewing past experiences and challenging current assumptions, which serves as an inspiration to “go forward”. In business, the one thing you can be assured of is continual change; as the economy ebbs and flows so new strategies and new symbolic language are signs of the times. Imagine you are attending a corporate meeting for the first time; you know how to behave because you take your cues from the people around you. You blend in well with your public image and tone of voice. However, if you can’t identify with the modern business lingo you might be “cut off at the knees” unless you make a concerted effort to expand your business vocabulary . Many believe that jargon masks real meaning, that it’s used as a substitute for analyzing strategies to attain goals and the direction they intend to give others. Bear in mind that business life today is fast-paced and that many corporations are overwhelmed in their commitment to remain competitive: decisions need to be made, information assimilated, models for continuous improvement implemented, messages delivered, and employees trained; and “going forward” to explore future prospects. Expand Vocabulary Other “misunderstood” buzzwords that top the list of being pretentious and ineffectual include circle back, value-added, paradigm shift, take it to the next level, win-win, on the same page, a lot on my plate, work smarter not harder, no-brainer, plus-up, flawless execution, best practices, boil the ocean, bring to the table, close the loop, critical path, finding fertile ground, drill-down, drinking the kool-aid, elevator...

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