Tuesday 19 April 2011

Management Speak

I don't say that language should always be plain though that is admirable in many cases. Using the rich heritage we have in the English language for effect, for humour or to emphasis to a point is a wonderful thing. An articulate facility with language is useful and valuable. It bothers me greatly that we have somehow gone so wrong with Education that 25% of the Welsh population is functionally illiterate. (50% is functionally innumerate which is another disaster). (Figures from the Institute of Welsh Affairs)

I am always interested in language use and there is a case for jargon and short hand speech within any particular industry. When that spills over to a wider audience it can be annoying or amusing depending on your perspective and perhaps your mood that day. Those who trot out the latest business clichés raise questions about their understanding of their subject and their own security about their position within their business world. Are they trying to impress? Might they be sheltering behind familiar terms to show they belong to some sort of tribe or society?
I consider myself lucky to have met two people in my business career who were originators, apparently of these clichés. It must begin somewhere and I was amused to see people making a discreet note with the obvious intention of repeating those terms later. These were original metaphors to illustrate a point and the audience was amused and interested.

Some interesting examples I have come across lately are phrases such as:
'Within the SME landscape...'
'Build new solutions in the alternative space...'
'Create an atmosphere for solutionising the problems...'
'What are the key takeaways?'
'...that is less, on a relative basis.' 
‘Cosynergistic operations...’
You get the idea. What on earth are they talking about? 

An SME needs sensible help to promote its business and Bob Shepherd Associates is well placed to do this.

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