Say what?

 With our disruptive narratives and transformational echo chambers we sometimes seem to inhabit a sort of  sub-John Le Carre spy novel when it comes to the impenetrable lingo of the modern communicator.

Where George Smiley had his lamplighters and bird watchers he at least he the excuse of being a Cold War era spy who needed to keep secrets and deliberately confuse the competition. (See here)

In PR and comms we seem to be some of the worst offenders for inventing the most confusing, esoteric and frankly baffling language to describe the work we do.

The non sequiturs and bizarre code words associated with PR are every bit as confusing as the array of business buzzwords that seep into every crevice of corporate life.

The public sector has been a master of this strange parlance, so inspired by this beautiful work by Graeme Whitfield of the Journal and ably assisted by my Twitter timeline, here’s a look at the words we love to hate (or hate to love depending on your mood).

Bluffers guide to comms blather 

Narrative…………………When even footballers are trotting it out you know it’s passé 

Disruptive………………Surely not everything can be disrupted?

Leverage…………………When you need to lift something really heavy.

Build on the offer………………………………………No idea, seriously no idea.

Echo chamber…………………………………………..Can anyone hear me?

Consume it’s own smoke…………………………Breathe it’s own farts?

Wash it’s own face………………………..and brush it’s own teeth? Really it means there is NO MONEY FOR THIS.

Mood music……………………………………………..As in not hearing it. Get ready for a P45.

Drum beat……………………………………….A lot of PR people seem to march to their own

Stakeholders……………………………………people. You know, real ones.

Engagement…………………………………………….I want to marry you

Transformation/transformational…………..Like Kafka’s Gregor Samsa who wakes up transformed into a huge and revolting beetle I’ m never quite sure what we should be ‘transforming’ into.

Mumpreneur………………………………………….. portmanteaus are huge in PR right now.

Iterative process……………………………………..Nobody knows what they are meant to be doing.

Incremental process………………………………..Maybe one person knows what they are meant to be doing?

Traction…………………………………For car tyres on that new BMW you just bought.

Amplify…………………………………………………….Can’t hear you

Bypassing the gatekeeper……………………….Something of Game of Thrones or Warcraft

Top of mind………………………………………………It doesn’t even make sense

Granularity………………………………………………Perfect for breakfast or making gravy

Reaching out……………………………………………Please stop

Curate……………………………………………………..Our work is so artistic it should be in a gallery

Going forward…………………………………..going to delete your media release

Upselling…………………………………………………..More like downgrading

Across the piece/piste………………………………This is everywhere and all over the place like a drunken skier

Deep dive……………………………………….Yeah, right to the bottom of the sea please.

Landing messages…………………………………….like punches or aircraft

Circle back/take offline…………………………….Abort landing

Study the ecosystem…………………………….search for predators

Increase/decrease bandwidth……………….beam me up Scotty

Authentic Corporate storytelling……………..????

Building capacity, leveraging capacity, zero capacity…There is nobody to do this work

Anybody being ‘delighted’ in any written work……..More like mildly pleased.

Replay (can we get some replay on that)………………Can I get a rewind?

Brand evangelist…………………………………………………….A liar

Collateral……………………………………………………………As in collateral damage

Thanks to @davepunton @creobryn @oldcrone77 @SEMcomms @Juangearista @tubbsky @philjewitt @linzeeN @coyknorth @neilmcloram @1howardwalker @julianfootprint for the contributions.

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4 thoughts on “Say what?

  1. It becomes fun when buzz words collide with their true meaning – working a role with marine scientist types who do actually ‘study the ecosystem’ for example. ‘Deep dive’ too.

    Can I also nominate ‘step change’ please?!

    Like

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