Dan Pallotta, president of Advertising for Humanity and HBR blogger, in a post titled “I Don't Understand What Anyone Is Saying Anymore”, writes about business jargon and how it affects communication in organizations. The blog post must have hit a nerve because it has broken the record for most comments to a single HBR Blog Network post.
One of these comments is a perfect way to begin 2012. That is, with humor that pokes fun at ourselves and the way we talk to each other. The commenter, BrainToniq (Scott Ohlgren), writes as if talking to his staff:
While in the run-up to transitioning in this phase of right-sizing and redeployment, we still need to—at the end of the day—drill down and make sure that our mission-critical, goal-oriented core competencies are in alignment and on the same page as the most current best-practices paradigm. While we as a customer-centric longtail company are still on the runway, we need to each firewall enough time to allow out-of-the-box thinking and strategize the low-hanging fruit in the marketplace. Envisioning the metrics here will require accountability management on each team member to come up with a value-added solution that doesn’t require putting out fires or a lot of bandwidth. Bottom line? The truth is we have to step up, work smarter, not harder, and create a Web 2.0 solution. This is an exciting model for limitless potential and mutually agreed synergies!
I’ve got an open door policy, so touch base and keep me in the loop. If we can move forward and proactively get on the same page about this, it’ll be a win-win-win. Remember: our people make the difference.
Come again? The truth is this is how we sound sometimes. And with email, text messaging, and all of the forms of social media, the use of buzzwords to replace plain speaking has gotten much worse. We are sacrificing clarity for brevity, which means there is greater risk of miscommunication.
Dan Pallotta’s solution is to “speak authentically” in communicating with employees and customers. He writes:
You will gain tremendous credibility, become much more productive, make those around you much more productive, and experience a great deal more joy in your working life if you look someone in the eye after hearing one of these verbal brain jammers and tell the person, "I don't have any idea what you just said to me."
Let's hope communication improves in all of our organizations in 2012.