On Walk­ing the Talk

The Economic Times - - The Edit Page -

I started my ca­reer years ago, work­ing for one of the big four con­sult­ing firms, and had a great ex­pe­ri­ence there. But I have to say that one of the things I could not get out of the way there was the hurl­ing around of what I thought were re­ally strange ex­pres­sions.

I re­mem­ber at one point, I sat in a meet­ing and in­stead of pay­ing at­ten­tion to what I was sup­posed to be do­ing, which was prob­a­bly client work, I started writ­ing down the terms that I kept hear­ing thrown around.… I don’t like cor­po­rate jar­gon, but I found my­self us­ing a few ex­pres­sions, es­pe­cially af­ter sit­ting in a meet­ing where they were be­ing lobbed around a lot. One of the chal­lenges that we have in the busi­ness world is there’s so much go­ing on. There are so many ini­tia­tives, and they all start to blend to­gether. I can see where some­one might say, “Hey, you know what? If we say this a lit­tle bit dif­fer­ently, it might stand out and peo­ple will pay at­ten­tion to it. There’s ac­tu­ally a ker­nel of value in there, where peo­ple are try­ing to speak in a way that gets peo­ple’s at­ten­tion be­cause it’s so hard to do in the busi­ness world.”

If we all sat down and said, “Let me just try to talk about this in a nor­mal way, the way I would talk to any­body else,” we might ac­tu­ally be able to com­mu­ni­cate bet­ter.… How they got at low-hang­ing fruit, I have no idea. “What is your band­width?”“Reimag­ine”and “rein­vent” is re­ally preva­lent th­ese days.…

From “The Ele­phant in the Room: Why Silly Cor­po­rate Buzz­words Catch On”

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