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Using the Right language

Posted by Amy Wilson on December 18, 2008


bingo2I have to admit I was horrified by Bob Sutton’s recent post on squirmish business words. I realized immediately that I was a bingo winner shoe-in. But, more specifically, I reflected back on the torment I have inflicted on my husband over the years. Insisting he accompany me to work parties. Claiming how “fun” and “cool” my co-workers were. “Yes” he would say, “but I can’t understand anything they say.”

“Functionality?!?” he would say. “That isn’t a word!”

Sadly, now he uses it. What have I done?

In the meantime, I have started to notice an emphasis on word choice in my business situations. What word can’t we use because it is too threatening? What word will get us a “yes” answer? What word will make everyone feel comfortable?

I don’t think any of us want to use jargon and old, tired words. But, we do want to communicate with eachother, put eachother at ease, and most importantly, get what we want.

There is a real need for Business Language 101. Bob, I’m hoping you have an “in.” Please teach us.

Personally, I like Boggle more than Bingo.

2 Responses to “Using the Right language”

  1. Pete Ryan said

    Amy, your post reminded me why sometimes I wonder if I am joining the ranks of grumpy old men… if you get the chance watch an episode of the show from the BBC. Whenever I hear the following word it makes me shiver and groan and I hear it every day. That word is the non-existent verb “to uptake”. At least it is not in my copy of the Oxford English Dictionary. Even writing it makes me shudder!🙂

  2. Amy Wilson said

    Oh – that’s a good one, Pete. Thanks for playing!

    As long as you keep your charming accent, you can be both grumpy AND fun to work with. 🙂

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