Back when we started SALESGURU in South Africa, I was just a little bit horrified at the sort of language I used to hear every day. I mean stuff that really chilled me to the bone.
What follows is part of my editor’s column in SALESGURU from July 2007. I’m being lazy enough rehashing old copy without subjecting you to the whole thing.
If you got up tomorrow morning and discovered that your mission that day was to develop mechanisms to facilitate the optimisation of core competencies in order to realise effective and measurable outcomes would you:
a) Kill yourself with a hammer
b) Kill yourself by eating poisonous toads or
c) Kill yourself by pushing a toaster into the bath while you’re in it?
Could anything sound more soul-crushing than spending even 30 minutes optimising core competencies? And yet that statement describes pretty much exactly what we do at SALESGURU. It is just a lot more fun the way we say it.
For example, rather than develop mechanisms to facilitate the optimisation of core competencies we might say publish a magazine of sales tips.
And instead of saying in order to realise effective and measurable outcomes, we might say to help you sell stuff. Regularly.
It is a matter of semantics, but it is an important one.
Mia, all I can say is that the problem still doesn’t appear to have gone away and you’re 100% right to rail against it.
After all, the whole purpose of using language is to communicate an idea in a way that it can be easily understood.
Anyone who refers to adding a resource instead of hiring a bright young guy called Steve needs a seriously long vacation.
Of course there is industry jargon which makes perfect sense in context; computer people speak of gigs and marketers speak of nixes (and apparently, CSI people speak of perps and vics) and there is nothing wrong with any of that. My concern is not industry jargon. It is generic jargon; language used to show expertise in nothing other than the total confusion of one’s listeners.
It bores me almost enough to consider alternate uses for my toaster.