Kiki O'KeeffeFriday, May 4, 2018
It’s almost too easy to make fun of business jargon. The volume of content satirizing corporate lingo is infinite, and much of it is savage and biting. It’s cliche to point out the cliches, and it’s all been said before. We know better now. And we’ve heard it from clients: less jargon, more precision. Noted.
Yet, here we are every day in our office lives circling back, touching base, pivoting. We dive deep and reach high and own our goals and, eventually, create a flywheel effect that drives measurable, impactful results. We don’t want to end-run ourselves, so we ideate and revert back, thus shifting the paradigm while taking our highest percentage shots. We want to establish thought leadership and leverage our core competencies – all while running everything up the flagpole and casting a wider net with our integrated, targeted approach.
It seems the cliches have trapped us. We all know these expressions can be overused and silly, but we say them anyway. Why?
Let’s examine a few Key Phrase Iterations (KPIs), and distill what they really mean:
- Circle back: Talk again
- Revert back: Talk again about something specific
- Touching base: Talking to each other
- Thought leadership: Talking in public about topics
- Paradigm shift: Talking about something new
- Core competencies: The stuff we love talking about
- Executive visibility: When leaders talk
- Strategy: How to talk the best
- Flywheel effect: When talking leads to more talking
- Drop the ball: We stopped talking
- Optimize SEO: Talking on the Internet
We seem to love talking to each other about talking about things. No wonder we found a few ways to say it.
But beyond necessity, our proprietary lingo makes us more connected. We may roll our eyes, but it feels good to speak the same language – especially when communication is our business.
Perhaps some measure of corporate-speak is here to stay. If so, maybe we can take a more generous view, even as we experience the instinct to satirize. It’s inevitable that we’ll seek new ways to say the same thing, as much to enliven our daily conversations as to clarify our positions. We’re ruled by jargon, and we should accept it. After all, content is king.