Please Step Away from the Jargon

15 May 2018 / Nathan Fitzsimmons / No Comments

As a reformed corporate consultant, I’ll own up to my part in the proliferation of buzz-word gibberish and meaningless corp-speak. But I think we can all agree it’s gone too far without getting bogged down in assigning blame.

Sometimes when I find myself in conversations chock full of language that no one would consider using over a beer or a barbeque, I find myself wondering just how many of the other people in the conversation are having the same inner monologue as I am.  Mostly it’s full of: ‘This is ridiculous right?’ ‘Do any of these other people think this is reasonable conversation?’ and ‘Who decided this would be good corporate lingo?’

Look, I know sometimes technical language is necessary, but there needs to be a weekly per capita limit on the amount of disruptive impact our outside-the-box ideation can generate.  I’m fully convinced that everyone thinks it’s all ridiculous. But then I’m always surprised how often I look around making subtle eye contact with others around the table trying to identify my potential confederates who will back me in pointing out that the emperor’s new clothes are a bit drafty. It’s the whole ‘easier to go with the flow’ thing. However, I’ve found that it’s not so hard to pop that bubble – and once it’s popped the relief can be palpable.

Side note – my personal pet peeve is ‘utilize.’ While not technically jargon per se, those are two very wasted syllables. Just say ‘use’. It means the same thing. If you want to ‘utilize’ the bigger word, I’m going to need you to explain the subtle nuance that it adds to what you want to convey above and beyond that you like hearing the sound of your voice for a few more seconds. And don’t get me started on the whole lazy / lackadaisical thing that’s pervaded the sports world for the last decade or so.

So, here’s to simplicity. Or barring that, at least a move to some more uniquely entertaining nonsense words. I’m personally rooting for hoodwink, bamboozle, hornswoggle, shenanigans, and tomfoolery to take hold in the c-suite crowd.

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