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 really 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 defence, to create the illusion of being an expert or simply to help us fit in with the crowd?

Whatever the reason, leaders need to be conscious of the words they use and make sure these words convey the true meaning of the message they want their audience to hear.

But, what we often get instead are meaningless statements, no different from any other leader in any other organisation.

 

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

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’s a statement full of business speak that has very little true 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 the distance.

Call to Action

Notice the business speak used in your organisation.

Seek it out, challenge its use and replace it with simple, more powerful language that energises and inspires.