Clear As Mud

BuzzwordsEffective communication lies at the heart of every successful organization. During an age characterized by hyper-connectivity, you would think that communication in the workplace would be clearer than ever. The truth is, the very concept of simple, effective communication is a dying art increasingly compromised by shallow buzzwords and one dimensional corporate speak.

Have you ever walked out of a meeting and asked yourself, “What exactly did we just spend 45 minutes discussing?”  If you answered “yes,”, you’re definitely not alone. Long winded diatribes, vague descriptions, and the inability to communicate a desired message effectively happens all too often within the workplace.

To put things into perspective, have you had an opportunity to “shift a paradigm” or “look for synergies” to “advance the cause” lately? Or have you successfully “peeled back the onion” or “circled the wagons” to “integrate value added processes” for a new client?  I can’t say that I’ve participated in any of these metaphorical tasks or if I even fully comprehend what they mean. However, I can assure you that upon hearing these euphemisms, I’ve engaged in the following familiar action items: “zoning out,” “falling asleep at the wheel,” or “taking a mental vacation.”

The problem of talking without saying anything of substance has become rampant in recent years. Forbes recently published an article satirizing some of the most over-used and despised buzzwords prevalent in our everyday corporate lives.  In the spirit of March Madness, they were creative enough to put the terms in an easy to follow bracket format with witty, comical definitions. Here are a few more of my favorites referenced in a similar article published by hr-heaven:

As you are aware I’m patronizing you by insinuating that you don’t know what I’m talking about by reminding you what I’m talking about.
Break through the clutter Can you cut through the BS and get to the point?
Dive deep Passive/aggressive suggestion directed to others to let them know they didn’t do enough research.
Globalization We’re going to try to sell our stuff to the world, but “export” doesn’t sound sexy enough
Take it offline Could you just shut up in front of all these people
Go back to square one Let’s start over – what we’ve got so far could be produced by Kindergartners.

Humor aside, managers are constantly looking for more effective ways to connect with their workforce.  At the end of the day, it’s not just the most qualified or intelligent managers that set themselves apart, but also those managers who are able to articulate their message in a concise and actionable fashion that see results. With that in mind, the next time you sit across from a client or have an opportunity to take the lead on a project, set clear expectations and be transparent…unless you want to muddy the waters with a bunch of incoherent babble.