bobbie smith

My photo
author, message master, strategist, speaker, artist (ink), social media & arts promoter

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Dear Executive: Say What You Mean

If you read Clare Lynch's article called: "10 Ways to Protect Your Copy from A Verbose Exec", you'll see the following sentence:

"There's nothing worse than some verbose exec "improving" your finely crafted copy by inserting references to "delivering key learnings," "driving employee integration strategies," and "interfacing holistically with clients."

If you're anything like me, you actually want to tackle rewriting those mucky terms she's highlighted.

Let's start with the first one: delivering key learnings.

The word 'learning' is a noun; that's not the problem. When you put an 's' on it, you are attempting to count an abstract concept like learning, and that causes confusion. Allow me to give you an example: Merriam-Wester defines learning as: "knowledge or skill acquired by instruction or study." You do not typically count the number of knowledges you've acquired. You would say 'key knowledge' or 'key learning' (though I would say this is awkward), not 'key knowledges'. True, you could say 'key skills' but skills are not exactly the same as learning or knowledge and besides, why not say 'key skills' instead of 'key learnings'. The reason execs are saying 'key learnings' is because it one of the latest buzz words they've picked up. They need to focus on what they really mean.

"Delivering key learnings" can mean:
  • sharing relevant information
  • sharing key knowledge
  • delivering important information
The second euphemism is: "Driving employee integration strategies." I honestly have no idea what that means; does it mean: 
  • pushing for strategies that bring employees together?
  • pushing for strategies that allow employees to work in a more coordinated, efficient manner?
  • pushing for strategies that allow employees to better assimilate into the company culture?
It's so open to interpretation, it could mean multiple things and yet to me, it means nothing. It's gibberish.

The third euphemism is: "interfacing holistically with clients". Who talks like that, really? Interfacing, as in, interacting? Holistically, meaning considering everything about the client and including that in conversations? 

Using such terms raises more questions than provides answers.

No comments:

Post a Comment