I read a great Harvard Business Review article the other day that was entitled “I don’t understanding what anybody is saying anymore” and it was a terrific rant against corporate jargon.
The author, Dan Pallotta, found four jargon “diseases” to watch out for – Abstractionitis (using complicated phrases to describe simple things), Acronymitis (overuse of acronyms), Valley Girl 2.0 (basically talking in half sentences in the way that “young” people do) and Meaningless Expression (think a phrase like “exceed customer expectations” or “think outside the box”).
Wrap it all together and you get something like this: “You should meet this guy with the SIO. He’s sort of this kind of social entrepreneur thinking outside of the box in the sustainability space and working on these ideas around sort of web-based social media, and he’s in a round two capital raise in the VP space with the people at SVNP.”
I found this hilarious – until I started looking over our website and promotional material to see how much jargon we used. Let’s just say we had a nasty bout of acronymitis, and we had to take immediate action to make our site much more readable.
Jargon can happen inside a company – it’s often the shorthand teams use to describe various things. But don’t let it creep into your interactions with customers.
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