Since the 1970s, writing coach William Zinsser has railed against business speak. Words like synergy, innovation, operational, and streamline spit in the face of the word "economy," Zinsser teaches in his books and in classrooms at Yale University, The New School, and Columbia University. He champions a direct approach to writing. Say it quickly and clearly.
The first definition of jargon on Dictionary.com is “the language, especially the vocabulary, peculiar to a particular trade, profession, or group.” The second definition is more to the point: “unintelligible or meaningless talk or writing.” Jargon is what’s clogging up communication with your team and with your members.
Forbes.com outlined the problem in 89 business cliches that will do nothing for your business. Read through the list. If you’re like me, you’re a repeat offender. The temptation of these cliches is they are easy and they make you sound smart. The problem is they are overused to the point of being meaningless.
Don’t try to impress the importance of a strategy upon your team by bogging it down with unnecessary and confusing words. In every piece of communication, internal or external, ask yourself, what am I trying to say?
Clunky language slows down the entire business train. Clear concise communication ensures two things. One, the reader or listener has a shot at understanding the message. And two, the writer is more likely to understand the message. The act of boiling a sentence down to its core meaning builds understanding.
When you give directions or outline goals that are riddled with business speak, there are too many opportunities to lose your audience. Each unnecessary “operational” or extraneous “efficiency” is an invitation for your team member to lose the message.
Credit unions pride themselves on being different, more personal, and more cooperative. Shed the corporate lingo and embrace the simple, the direct, and the concise. You won’t just make an old writing teacher smile, you might also get some serious work done.