Monday, December 10, 2007

The War on Jargon

I suppose 'jargon' is the wrong word. It's buzz words and buzz phrases really, the stuff that's used more and more in business by not-very-good people who think it will make them appear clever and knowlegeable.

I'm going to call it 'buzzing' in future.

I've ranted a couple of times recently about examples I've come across here - my doomed campaign to try to make the users see the stupidity, the pointlessness, of it. To see what appalling marketing it is.

Anyway, in the London Financial Times there are some great examples in a column by the business commentator Lucy Kellaway.

Going around for a day with a professional headhunter, she pretended to also be one. At the end of the day she asked whether the real headhunter would offer her a job. "No, because you say what you think" she was told.

Pretty well sums up buzzing - don't under any circumstances let people know what you're talking about. The great art of miscommunication prevails.

Lucy goes on with some classics. For example, she comments that "...recently I have started to feel less bruised about the rejection. Talking my mind may have ruled me out as a headhunter, but now saying anything that even makes sense disqualifies one from joining what practitioners call the "executive search space".

Modern headhunters spout as much guff as management consultants, but without the excuse. Consultants have to, to hide the fact that it often isn't clear what they're selling. Headhunters are selling something pukka so there's no reason why they can't come right out and say so.

The examples she quotes are mind-numbing.

Remember that what these companies actually do, the reason they are hired and paid, is find the right person for the right job.

Simple, direct, explanatory, crystal clear. That's what they do.

What do they say they do?

Korn Ferry describes itself as "The premier provider of human capital solutions".

Heidrick & Struggles says "as innovators, we are actively redefining top-level search to encompass complementary services".

Michael Page says "Our journey starts when we see a difference between where we are today and where we want to be".

An aquaintance went to a headhunter to find a new Managing Director. He told her the introductory e-mail from them said: "As a Leading Total Talent Solution Provider, we have some special assessment tools to help identify the 'right' candidate."

Lucy's column is worth reading in full and you can find it here.

4 comments: said...

the whole concept of buzzwords is funny. makes everything sound 'more important' or more complex than it really is. it can turn a cook into a culinary executive, or a secretary into an administration assistant. funny. anyone can be a manager too.

Rose in Dubai said...

Buzzwords really piss me off! Tonight I heard an ad on radio for Romanos Grill saying something along the lines of "DELIVERING finest Italian food..." Delivering, oh pulease!!!

So I phoned them up and asked for a meal for delivery - "sorry madam, we don't deliver"

So why the F@£@& do you say you do in your ad?????

Seabee said...

"Mediterranean cuisine solutions" eh Rose

i*maginate said...

rose in dubai, you shoulda "delivered" your complaint to the Egyptian manager. I'm sure he coulda helped. tut tut.