Avoid industry jargon

taskmasterA couple of years ago, Old Taskmaster had a sales meeting with a phone company.

 

It was easy to tell that I was in the right building by the large sign on the door of the lift reading: “Out of order due to a fault. A ticket of work has been issued. No ETA.” Knowing the phone company, I sometimes wonder whether that lift is still out of order.

 

Breathless after lumbering up too many flights of stairs, while muttering about the lift that was lifting nothing, I found the meeting room.

 

Just as I was about to sit down, an office manager runs in and practically pulls the seat out from underneath me. Of course, after many years of pulling the rug out from underneath small businesses, doing so with a chair must have come naturally.

 

“Oh, I’m very sorry about this, but there’s a fault with the chair” says the young sales director.

 

“A fault with the chair?” I reply, somewhat bemused.

 

I hadn’t known a chair to have a fault before. The ones I sit on tend to break or fall apart. Sometimes they’re in need of repair. It’s copper wires or radio communications equipment that generally tend to develop faults.

 

“Yeah, a fault with the chair. It was supposed to be repaired last week. Whoever was responsible for that just earned themselves a dirty ticket of work,” says the sales director.

 

What the chair was doing with a ticket, let alone how it got dirty in a large beige office building, was never quite explained. Perhaps the ticket was borrowed from the lift outside?

 

Now, I’m sure within the bubble of the telco industry, where people spend all day dealing with faults on mobile phone towers, this language come naturally. Outside the bubble, it’s quite absurd.

 

Every other industry has similar terms. It’s important to make sure you and your staff don’t use them in front of customers.

 

Get it done – today!

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