We were talking last time about jargon and the way it clutters up your writing, getting in the way of the message. But sometimes jargon is just very very funny.
I have to confess a weakness for daft language, although you do have to be careful. People might just take you seriously. Here’s my top ten :
- Multi-slacking. Multi-skilling and multi- tasking’s lazy brother.
- Wet signature. Strangely off-putting way of referring to a hand fashioned signature.
- Strategic staircase. A plan for the future as opposed to some fortuitously placed steps.
- Alpha geek. Head of tech support.
- Blame Storm. Trying to work out who’s going to get it.
- Power Loser. The person chosen in number 5.
- Idea hamster. Person least likely to be fired in a blame storm due to their constant stream of ideas.
- Long pole item. Pivotal, like the pole in an old-fashioned tent.
- Glasgow salad. Chips (one for UK readers I think.)
- Going postal. Losing it big style.
Once again many thanks to www.rhymer.net and http://www.johnsmurf.com of MBA Jargonwatch for some of their ideas.
I had other plans today but feel compelled instead to talk about jargon. I read a blog post yesterday from the Performancing website www.performancing.com entitled ‘Improve your blog’s brand by creating new jargon’
Yaro Starak argues that by creating new jargon for your niche you ‘ build(s) the perception that we are experts who know what we’re talking about.’
I think that is a really risky strategy:
- Firstly because according to the dictionary, jargon is not only words pertaining to a specific job or profession but can also be ‘unintelligible or meaningless talk or writing; gibberish.
- Secondly because you have to have a great deal of authority and charisma to get your followers to adopt a new piece of language. Seth Godin can get away with ‘purple cow’ because he is Seth Godin.
At best jargon just gets in the way of what you are trying to say, at worst it makes you look as if you are trying too hard. In certain professions some jargon is simply shorthand. My husband told me he had recently received an e-mail saying, ‘If you do this, the dog will obscure the slate.’ That’s TV for you I’m afraid !
Some jargon makes me laugh and next time I am going to give you those as a top 10, but for now here are the ones I really hate.
1. Fit for purpose. Pejorative. Ubiquitous sound-bite phrase used to describe any government department/ or indeed anything that no longer functions as hoped.
2. Going forward. What’s wrong with in the future ?
3. Core competencies. What we do well ?
4. Woffice. An ill-conceived BBC idea of an individual mini office that was wired for new technology.
5. Me plc. That’s just bad.
6. Facetime. Meeting ?
7. Leverage. Borrowed from finance and used just about everywhere.
8. Incentivize like Monetize. They are just made–up words.
9. Drill down. A cliché often applied to websites and the information found there.
10. ‘Own’ as in we must own the argument.
Many thanks to http://www.rhymer.net and http://www.johnsmurf.com for some of their jargon ideas.