Yes, Even CEOs Speak Human

Communication

Trying to sound really smart is really, really dumb.

You see it every day. Puffed up blog posts, white papers, webinars and website copy full of important sounding jargon. So serious, so authoritative. The less of it you understand, the more important it must be.

Corporate-speak is a relic of the days before Google and RSS feeds, a time when information wasn’t at everyone’s fingertips. A white paper in 1998 didn’t have to compete with the same avalanche of information as the white paper of today.

In 1998 we could forgive the indiscretions of the well-meaning yet misguided seminar leader, with his comically inane PowerPoint slides, reading every bullet to us as if we were children. In 2015, we simply log off and head to Starbucks to clear our heads.

In 1998 we had to subscribe to an email newsletter for the latest industry insights. When it arrived in our inbox, we may have even read it despite the content being 93% about the company, how great it is, its latest achievements as a “leading provider of…”

Zzzzzzzzz. In 2015, we’ll hit the unsubscribe button on a whim.

Nonsensical business speak is not dead yet, but those who cling to using it in the hopes of establishing thought leadership are chasing irrelevance, not influence.

My proof? What do most best-selling business books have in common?

They’re all written in plain English. Not rhetoric. Not cryptic business platitudes and cliches. Good old-fashioned, engaging and easy-to-understand English.

It’s the quality of your insights that make them valuable. Your point of view doesn’t need to be puffed up with obtuse, smart-sounding language to be taken seriously. Trust that your ideas are worth other people’s time, or aren’t, all on their own.

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