Work speak

A collection of abhorrent book titles about excelling in business (No links provided, no one wants that):

The Secret Language of Business: How to Read Anyone in 3 Seconds or Less

No B.S. Price Strategy: The Ultimate No Holds Barred, Kick Butt, Take No Prisoners Guide to Profits, Power, and Prosperity

The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur: The tell-it-like-it-is guide to cleaning up in business, even if you are at the end of your roll.

The Power of Impossible Thinking: Transform the Business of Your Life and the Life of Your Business

Zero Resistance Selling: Achieve extraordinary sales results using the world-renowned techniques of Phycho-Cybernetics

Hypnotic Writing: How to Seduce and Persuade Customers with Only Your Words

Winning Body Language: Control the Conversation, Command Attention, and Convey the Right Message without Saying a Word

When I first began working in business I found I had a very difficult time communicating with people. There is a language of action that one uses at work. If you are employed, as most people are, in a field that demands execution and accomplishment, it is necessary that you be brief, direct, and purposeful with your expressions. One must make assertive proposals, and mean them. It is expedient to use well-worn clichés as shorthand for more complex ideas. Always be attentive to details since each detail of a matter can be exploited as an opportunity to speak and to make people pay attention to you. Nobody in business writes in paragraphs: ideas are listed as bullet points. There is no expectation that one’s thoughts should cohere and should support one another when one is speaking. If you try to support a statement you have made and provide justification for your reasoning, people will get bored and become impatient with you. Business people use verbs more than nouns. Business people avoid using dependant clauses in their writing and their speech, except of course for relative clauses. Relative clauses are employed by business people to qualify things. Qualification is preferred over justification. Business are very good at foreseeing potential outcomes and planning for them. Time is constantly referenced. Individuals are assigned responsibility and made to report progress toward a goal. Reports of subordinates to their superiors usually need to be very detailed but also easy to follow. This is so the superior can appear knowledgeable when explaining the accomplishments of his or her team and, by extension, to take credit for them.

Business speak coalesces out of the intersection of pragmatism and opportunism. This is how one begins to think when one has dedicated his or her thinking to productivity. I struggled to imitate these customs with only occasional success when I was working in the corporation. After a period of about eight or nine months of resistance, I had to accept that given the circumstances, business speak was an effective means of putting matters in order and articulating shallow consequence. So I kind of acquiesced and began using it, but I never became adept. I am not a man of action. I am not troubled by problems of practical application and often do not see them when they exist. I stammered in phone conferences, included superfluous information in my presentations and sat paralyzed and useless in meetings about projects I actively avoided knowing anything about.

Leave a Reply