Or, why walk the walk when you can talk the talk?
We’ve all been in that meeting. You’re in sync with the presenter. Then the jargon starts to flow. You nod like you get it. Then again you’re not so sure.
By the time you snap back into the moment it’s too late. You missed something. Or did you?
Peel the onion, push the envelope, think outside the box. It’s there every day, in every meeting. It spills over into emails and phone calls—make that shout-outs.
An admittedly unscientific observation, jargon serves no useful purpose except to fill time and vocal space. It’s an artificial substitute for authentic content. Fuzzy logic.
To wit, somewhere there must be a rule that says saying something is better than saying nothing. So, saying nothing becomes saying something. It’s a paradigm shift.
Jargon’s existence is untraceable and never-ending. It’s a continually evolving form of language and speech that wants to amaze, impress, and confuse us at the same time.
Ad writers are continually reminded not to use a big word when a small word will do; and use as few words as possible. Unfortunately, the same doesn’t hold true in meetings. It’s volume from the get-go, until the hard stop.
But maybe that’s a good thing. The carwash of disarticulation that often masquerades as strategic input might actually serve a purpose. By comparison, a simple, direct, well-crafted ad can break through the clutter. In the room.
Gatekeepers and stakeholders, quoting complex analytics and following best practices to avoid boiling the ocean, exhort you to make it pop. Everyone nods his head. These guys know what they’re talking about. They’re thought leaders.
Maybe it’s just me but it seems that whenever a new buzzword enters the room, probably introduced by an 800-pound gorilla, everyone embraces it. Instantly, it’s global.
Is there a jargon mill somewhere? A high-security Navarone where young guns working in secret think up these little gems of corporate-speak then push them out into conference rooms through the ventilation systems?
Core competencies aside, it takes a certain degree of—dare I say—insecurity to be a regular buzzworder. Seems it fills an unconscious void by making users sound more authoritative than they really aren’t. It’s an ego-empowerment device. Like verbal elevator shoes.
After all, who doesn’t want to be the smartest guy in the room?
Buzzwords range from frivolous replacements for common words to cleverly concocted buzz phrases.
You see, common words are, well, common. Common is boring. Boring is not good. Heck, who wants to call or talk or even analyze when you can reach out or engage or deep-dive? Boring, not boring. See what I mean?
For buzzwords to catch on, they have to, by definition, create buzz. That means newly minted words or uncharted expressions now have to be seamlessly integrated into our meeting lexicon. That takes repetition. That means everybody has to get on board.
To be fair, buzzwords, jargon—however you want to frame it—peppers other forms of communication too. It colors language in news, sports, and feature writing and announcing all day, every day.
So why does its usage invite post-meeting chuckles in the business arena? Because it seems so, if you will, pretentious. So out-of-the-park. So bleeding-edge.
But you can’t discount the entertainment value jargon provides. It injects levity, even reverie, into long, taxing meetings infused with serious discussion, supported by reams of data, delivered in PowerPoint. (The more slides the better.)
Infused in a presentation, jargon gives us a bio-break without leaving the room. We can travel to another place to revel briefly and deliciously in the beautiful nonsense of these mindless jewels. Even spout a few of our own, just for fun.
So bring them on. Let us not go quietly into the next meeting. Let us go boldly forth, prepared to dazzle the minions, armed with real-time next-gen benchmarks.
At the end of the day, it comes down to this simple metric: He who has the most scalability wins.
Before we put this subject in the parking lot, join the conversation. What are your favorite meetingisms? Be sure to include the translation so we all can engage.