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  • Paul Steven - Jennings

Buzzwords

Originally published on LinkedIn Pulse


Agile, disruptive, transformation, deep dive, growth hacking, the list is endless and the longer it gets, the more it irks.


These words are thrown around by consultants, sales people, hip young billionaires in jeans and a white t-shirt in every video, article, meeting and email. They are designed to grab our attention, peek our interest, make the user sound smart and then, hopefully, follow the hashtag. But what do they mean and would all the heroes of the digital world be as engaging without them?

Allow me to be blunt, I despise them. Agile used to be a physical attribute of a good athlete, disruptive was the naughty kid in the back of the class and well, growth or life just can't be hacked. How did a workplace become agile, when all it is, is flexible. When did a scrum leave the rugby field, a dive depart the water and digital become the most used adjective for transformation?


I work in the most jargon riddled industry in the world, IT. I am all too familiar with that glazed expression in a clients eyes as I try to describe how their on premises infrastructure will communicate with their cloud infrastructure, this is generally the moment when the pen and paper come out or I ask for a whiteboard. Do the buzzwords help us in anyway to communicate better? Are they necessary? Can we avoid them? No, no and yes. Here is how.


Firstly, we need to be agile in our thinking in order to disrupt the current status quo before taking a deep dive into the alternatives and their viability to finally transform, digitally obviously, the way we communicate with our co-workers, clients and employees. See what I did there?


I recently read a book with about 140 thousand words, written in rather high-brow, academic English, I needed to google two words, one of those was fecund* (yes, me neither) compare that to an hour spent on LinkedIn catching up on the latest tech trends, maybe 5 to 10 thousand words and I have to google 4 or 5. The worst part is, those words are generally not technical, they are made up or being used in context that wouldn't make conventional sense.


In reality, we need to be traditional in our thinking, informative in our communication and take a long hard look at our vocabulary, not to transform anything, but simply to return to a more effective form of communication. I firmly believe that buzzwords create a layer of obfuscation to our conversations, providing more "glazed eye" moments and far less understanding.


This is my call, my call to all you writers, aspiring or established, you bloggers, you trainers, sales people and people that have influence in online media (Yes, I know they are called influencers but that's another made up word). Go back to writing in English, not only will you make more sense, but I, for one, will respect you for it.

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