“It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn’t use long,
difficult words but rather short, easy words like What about lunch?”
A.A. Milne, Winnie the pooh
Have you ever found yourself involved in conversations at work, not really knowing what has been said?
Has a new language emerged for business folk, with words that only make sense to them? A language that uses words such as ‘maximise‘ or ‘actioning‘, or ‘efficiencies‘ that in reality mean very little…and absolutely nothing to people who aren’t in the business tribe!
Language is so rich, full of descriptive words that help to conjure vivid mental representations to engage, energise and inspire. So why are so many leaders using homogenised language that dulls the senses
Can it be that these business words are used as an unconscious defense, to create an illusion of being an expert or to simply help us fit in with the rest?
Whatever the reason, leaders need to consider how these words are being used, and if they convey the true meaning in the message they wish to get out to their audience.
What we often get instead is meaningless vision & values statements, no different from any other organisation.
Take this vision statement as an example.
To achieve sustainable growth, we have established a vision with clear goals.
Profit: Maximizing return to shareowners while being mindful of our overall responsibilities.
People: Being a great place to work where people are inspired to be the best they can be.
Portfolio: Bringing to the world a portfolio of brands that anticipate and satisfy peoples; desires and needs.
Partners: Nurturing a winning network of partners and building mutual loyalty.
Planet: Being a responsible global citizen that makes a difference.”
This could be for any organisation. It is a statement full of business speak that has very little meaning. It certainly doesn’t engage the senses, does it?
Compare it with this famous vision statement from Microsoft:
There will be a personal computer on every desk running Microsoft software.
It is short and simple, which means it will be memorable and last.
Notice the business speak used in your organisation. Seek it out, challenge it’s use and replace it with simple, more powerful language that energises and inspires.