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There are nearly 7,000 different languages in the world. Yet people in business are making communication even more complex with their own set of phrases and words. It’s jargon. And it’s putting a strain on professional relationships.
Let’s think outside the box for a minute. Maybe when we have an idea shower to get our ducks in a row, it might encourage our colleagues and clients to push back. Because there’s nothing more frustrating than having to connect the dots of a road map simply for it to make sense. Cringing yet? Here’s why you should actively try to use clear, straightforward language and avoid jargon at work…
Speaking in riddles makes it impossible to work effectively with your colleagues and clients. It makes briefing challenging and complicates even the most laid-back of meetings because your team don’t actually understand what’s expected of them. This is especially true for the growing international workforce for whom English is not their first language. Nearly 39% of London’s workforce was born outside of the UK so why overcomplicate communication further with unnecessary idioms? It has been reported that only 40% of employees actually know and understand their company’s goals, strategies and tactics. Imagine what the figure would be if everyone spoke in plain language?
When we hear the same phrases over and over, they lose their meaning. It’s similar to semantic satiation – when words start to sound weird because we’ve used them too often. Our psychology tells us that something heard over and over is meaningless, and the same happens with jargon. Cutting overused corporate language will make your business much more interesting to work with.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of believing corporate language makes you sound knowledgeable. However, it can actually have the opposite effect and make you sound like you don’t know your stuff. For example, when someone says, ‘we simply haven’t got the bandwidth to take that project on board’, it means they haven’t got the people, resources, money or time. With only 35% of people feeling inspired by their boss, clear communication is key to building trust and therefore getting people on board with your ideas. Bewildering corporate language will certainly lead employees to doubt their seniors’ credibility. Workplace language is excluding Different forms of language have often been prestigious but discriminatory. In the Middle Ages, new Latin words were entering the English language but were only understood by the educated elite, not the general population. This gave Latin a reputation as an ‘artificial language’: One far removed from languages spoken in everyday life. The same happens today with workplace phrases. When corporate jargon enters our emails and meetings, people feel excluded and foolish because they don’t understand it (even though it isn’t particularly wise or logical). Our friends at Tortoise recently led a Thinkin all about the issues with corporate language. They’ve even put together an amusing glossary of jargon terms to avoid. Why not have a read and a giggle?