Ok, so, what follows is a true story but I have had to anonymise it slightly to keep the dignity and reputations of those involved somewhat in tact.A few years ago, a fella went for a job as Head of Digital at a reputable recruitment advertising company. At this meeting he was interviewed by the managing partners, who had no real idea what the job role entailed or any in depth knowledge of digital and IT.
This candidate wowed them with jargon, buzzwords and, let’s be honest, b*llshit.
The managing partners were pleased that their new hire seemed so knowledgeable, so confident, so capable. He was offered the job. And a job as Head of Digital is nothing to sniff at. He was probably looking at £70k+.
Over the next few months however, it became very clear that our hero knew very, very little about IT and digital. He would be quiet in meetings, tapping away on his laptop to look as if he was taking notes but offering very little. He would delegate all his work to his team and ask pretty obvious questions of them. This went on.
The guy knew nothing about IT. He barely knew how to operate his laptop. It transpired that before his interview he had Googled digital and IT buzzwords, jargon and examples and learned them all. Lucky for him, the managing partners knew nothing either and so were bowled over by this waffle. Our man lasted six months before he had to confess all in his review meeting. However, at this point he pocketed a decent amount of dough and managed to get a respected advertising company on his CV. So he didn’t do too bad out of it!
My point is this, jargon and buzzwords can be a dangerous thing. The industry (and indeed all industries) are filled with this nonsense terminology and people that think that it’s clever, and makes them look clever, to spout it. What we are learning more and more, both internally and externally, is that people are getting tired of it and numb to it. People want to be spoken to in a clear, honest and simple way. People are wising up to the bullshit. Corporate language and management speak is now more likely to produce an eye roll than an impressed nod of the head.
Here’s a non-comprehensive list of terms I personally hate to hear and will raise scepticism and distaste for anyone that uses them:
Viral – People talk about things ‘going viral’ as if it’s something that they can control. They can’t. It either does or it doesn’t. And it mostly doesn’t.
Thought leader – Only a certain type of person thinks of themselves as, or wants to be seen as a ‘thought leader’. Don’t be one of them.
Disrupting the industry – Meaningless twaddle that just means you’re doing something that’s not the norm. You’re not disrupting anything.
If you can think of any other buzzwords you think need banning from the English vernacular and throwing in room 101, them please feel free to comment below.