Weekly Grooves

Garbage Language & Corporate Double Talk: The Downside..and Upside?

February 28, 2020

Corporate speak. Garbage language. Double talk. Acronyms. We are fed up with language that lacks clarity and is intended to obfuscate. We were instantly happy when we saw an article in Vulture by Molly Young that got us thinking: among all the detestable aspects of this double talk, is it possible there’s an upside, too?

In this episode of Weekly Grooves, we explore some of the psychological benefits and attenuations caused by what is often referred to as Garbage Language. In just a few short minutes, we run through some of our most irritating examples of this unnecessary jargon.

Just so you know…consider these:

“Can you parallel path this?” ...Do you want me to work on two things at the same time or deliver an alternative?

“It’s a blue ocean project…” ...Are you trying to let me know that this has vast opportunity to grow or that we’re starting from scratch?

“We should be able to deliver this for single digits…” ...Why not just say that we expect to come in under $10 million?

“We’ll need to do a deep dive on that…” ...Are you indicating we need more analysis?

“We’ll need more bandwidth to get that done…” ...What are you asking for? Do you want more or different people with the same or different skill sets to help get this done?

“We need to get aligned on this before we move forward…” ...Are you indicating that every person on the team must agree 100% with the recommendations or just most of us before we get started?

“What’s your takeaway from this?” ...Are you asking what I’m learning from our discussion or are there specific items that require action that you want me to follow up on?

© 2020 Weekly Grooves

 

Links

“Why Do Corporations Speak The Way They Do?” by Molly Young in Vulture: https://www.vulture.com/2020/02/spread-of-corporate-speak.html

WeWork Filing with SEC: https://www.businessinsider.com/wework-reportedly-draws-scrutiny-from-sec-2019-11

Cristina Biccieri, PhD: https://philosophy.sas.upenn.edu/people/cristina-bicchieri

Lila Gleitman, PhD: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lila_R._Gleitman