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This morning at LeadingCompany, we’ve been leveraging our content in order to better network our paradigms, all the while orchestrating operational setbacks with our infrastructure.
Meaning, we’ve been giggling at the antics of @managerspeak, a Twitter account that parodies the verbose yet empty jargon so many businesspeople have to put up with. And we’ve had some website troubles (they should be fixed now).
Making fun of the way managers, academics and bureaucrats speak is a healthy pastime for journalists, and others who love the English language. We’re glad we’ve found a Twitter account to deliver us such mirth, 140-characters at a time.
Some of our favourites:
But, the growing use of such language is no laughing matter. As author and celebrated political speechwriter Don Watson wrote in his 2003 book, Death Sentence: The Decay of Public Language, the language of business and management is the language of power. That’s why second-rate politicians keep using it too. The problem is once the roots of “managerialism” take hold in our speech, they corrupt the meaning and power of our language. “It enrages, depresses, humiliates, confuses. It leaves us speechless,” Watson writes.
When we speak and write this way, we lose the ability to communicate.
Here are some real-life examples Watson found among Australian companies (unfortunately, he stripped the quotes of direct attributions):
If you’re guilty of this yourself, you need to change. As @managerspeak writes, “there’s a direct and converse relationship between competence and obfuscation.”
But don’t worry: there is help. Here are some exercises get you started, adapted from the marvellous Don Watson.
Got any more? We’re all ears. It’s time to name and shame the corporations and managers who fleece our language of meaning.