Buzz Buzz Buzzwords

After listening to Steven Poole, author of ‘Who Touched Base in my Think Shower’, on the Chris Evans Breakfast Show on BBC Radio 2 yesterday morning, it reminded me of when Microsoft laid off thousands of employees via email (NOT the ‘done thing’) in a multiple paragraphed jargon-filled message.

It also got me wondering whether an ever increasing vocabulary of office and industry buzzwords and jargon phrases affects employee engagement and company culture. This new-fangled terminology is becoming increasingly pervasive in the workplace, even though many employees will admit they find much of the jargon annoying.

The biggest danger with using certain buzzwords and phrases is that they can be unclear, leaving the listener feeling lost, confused and at worst, disengaged.

Who’s to say that everyone understands what is meant by ‘customer centric’, ‘low hanging fruit’ or ‘benchmarking’ for example. The fact that it is taken for granted that employees will know what you are talking about is nonsense in its self.

For company culture, clear and concise corporate communication from the top of the organisation to the bottom is highly important. Poor communication can spread like a virus. If the leaders and those with influence in an organisation speak in gibberish, then that becomes an acceptable part of the company culture.

In a meeting, a good way of avoiding such use of language, would be to ask employees to say what they have to say in 45 seconds. With those kinds of constraints, people will soon drop the jargon and get to say what they really mean.

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