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Let’s Dump Corporate Jargon: Simplifying Communication

I stumbled upon John Harrison’s LinkedIn post advocating for simplifying corporate language, and it brought back memories of a recent meeting I attended.

The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the final details of infrastructure requirements for an Accounts Payable project. I was expecting a small group of 2 or 3 people from the client’s side, and I brought along our Head of Technology, Josh Powley, as backup.

To my surprise, when I joined the meeting, there were over 20 people from the client’s side, most of whom I didn’t know. The meeting quickly descended into organised chaos. The IT departments (group and local) were at odds with each other, project managers seemed clueless about their presence, the business process consultant diverted the conversation away from infrastructure, and the network engineer was overly concerned about the impact of tiny XML files on the network bandwidth (yes, bandwidth matters, but come on!).

Too many cooks spoil the broth, especially when half of them are more interested in how the pot is made rather than what’s going in it. Leave the pot manufacturing to the people in the factory not the cooks in the kitchen.

The level of corporate jargon used was mind-boggling. If you work in pre-sales, part of your responsibility is to simplify things, especially when engaging with clients who aren’t familiar with industry terms and abbreviations.

Speak like a normal person, keep it straightforward and easy to understand.

Interestingly, the same holds true for meetings involving people from different departments and roles. What makes sense to the network engineer might be gibberish to the marketing manager, and the business process consultant’s acronyms may go right over the project manager’s head.

I thought Debbie Davidson-Effler’s comment was spot on:

Corporate speak makes my eye twitch and immediately puts me on guard that BS will follow.

Debbie Davidson-Effler

Keep It Simple, Stupid.

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