Engage as you explain
It’s so easy to lose your message, your audience – their attention and their trust by using ‘weasel’ words; by using ‘gobbledeegook’ if you will – and it’s everywhere, like an epidemic.
With the pace of information being shared, the cultures which must be crossed and included within our messages, and the turbulent times we’re navigating at the moment, the need to be as clear as possible is more vital than ever.
Think about it for a moment… When did you last say to your partner, as you were either in bed or getting ready for bed: “We’re struggling to get our key performance indicators aligned so we can leverage all the strategic opportunities out there?” Well, I put it to you, in general, most partners would cross their eyes, turn over and wonder what language you’re suddenly speaking.
To use a lot of ‘corporate’ lingo, especially in times when people are concerned about what’s really happening, is a recipe for confusion, mistrust and – often – for being ignored. It’s ironic really, people tend to use this sort of language to try to sound more knowledgeable, more ‘clever’ if you will. The opposite happens though. People tune out and think about something else entirely, resent you for confusing them or making them feel ‘dumb’ – or are so busy trying to translate what’s being said they miss what you’re trying to say anyway.
It’s a great way to translate some of the corporate gobbledegook you come across by asking yourself: “What would I say to my partner/husband/wife about this?” What you’ll find is that you naturally choose other words, more accessible, more everyday words. Try a bit of “Pillow Talk” with your team, your marketing, when you’re making presentations or proposals.
You’ll be heard more easily and people will trust you and thank you for it.
Here are three quick examples for you:
- “By the end of the next quarter the upsurge in uptake will maximise our position” becomes “with all these buyers, by the end of December we should be in a great position”
- “We’re struggling to get our key performance indicators aligned so we can leverage all the strategic opportunities out there” becomes “we’ve got to get everyone meeting their targets so we can make the best of what’s happening in the market”
- “So to keep optimising the market diffusion we must keep thinking outside of the box to leverage this” becomes “hey, there’s a lot activity in our market, let’s keep our minds open and meet as often as we can to make the most of it”
Sometimes, we all have to use the ‘gobbledeegook’ or the corporate sounding name of something or expressions being used around us. It’s a big part of being heard. I worked on a project in my own corporate career called GROPE. Enough said for a confusing, mixed message-style name which no one really understood!
So make sure you talk about it – you know you’re valuable and have value to add – well, talk truly is valuable too. If you choose.
What you can do as well to make sure you’re understood at the same time is to use these three simple and subtle expressions to make sure the point gets across and translates the ‘blah’ language into your Pillow Talk:
- “and by that I mean…”
- “or in other words…”
- “but you could also say…”
They’re simple, savvy and subtle – and they work.
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