Monday, July 11, 2005

The Language of Business

'Let's face it: business today is drowning in bullshit. We try to impress (or confuse) investors with inflated letters to shareholders. We punish customers with intrusive, hype-filled, self-aggrandizing product literature. We send elephantine progress reports to employees that shed less than two watts of light on the big issues or hard truths. The average white collar worker goes to the office every morning, plugs into email, dials into voicemail, and walks into meetings only to be deluged by hype and corporatespeak:
After extensive analysis of the economic factors and trends facing our industry, we have concluded that a restructuring is essential to maintaining competitive position. A task force has been assembled to review the issues and opportunities and they will report back with a work plan for implementing the mission-critical changes necessary to transform our company into a more agile, customer-focused enterprise.

He sees right through it, too, because these contrived communications are the exact opposite of the natural conversations he engages in everywhere else. Outside of work, he has a fundamentally different kind of conversation--a human one, with stories and color. Informal, spontaneous, warm, funny and real. Then he hops online and the natural unfiltered dialogue continues in chat rooms, message boards, blogs and instant messaging. Even his virtual life is more real than his office life. There is a gigantic disconnect between these real, authentic conversations and the artificial voice of the business executives and managers at every level. Their messages lack humanity in a world that craves more of it. Between meetings, memos and managers, we've lost the art of conversation. Bull has become the language of business. But most businesspeople stumble forward in a haze. They copy and paste and crank out hollow and vapid communications that beomce the butt of jokes as soon as they leave the email server. Even worse they get ignored. They're full of jargon, they say very little--and most important--these messages are out of touch, arrogant and condescending. And everyone knows this, except for the idiot hitting the send button.'
--from "Why Businesspeople Speak Like Idiots--A Bullfighter's Guide"


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