Cutting Through The Corporate Speak
Corporate speak runs rampant in businesses today, and the lack of precise communication in most presentations, meetings, and even one-on-one conversations is staggering. The sad result is confusion within teams and across silos that can cost your business tremendously when you take into account the resulting poor performance, re-work and counterproductive activity.
Look closely and you’ll see corporate-speak show up in many situations, each time with a cost that is collectively huge. Sometimes it’s used to gloss over the fact that people don’t actually know what they’re talking about. Other times, employees are afraid to bring up negative issues that won’t be popular with the boss, so they avoid hard truths with redirection or vagueness. Some simply want to sound smart and others are unprepared or don’t fully understand what is expected of them so they are BS-ing their way through a meeting. No one wants to ask questions when they don’t understand what is being communicated because they don’t want to look dumb in front of everyone, but too often employees pretend they know what’s happening in the meeting, then leave the table without any real information or understanding of what needs to happen next.
To encourage employees and managers to speak plainly and avoid obfuscatory speech, you may have to ask questions multiple times and promise them complete amnesty on their answers. In order to do this effectively, you’ll need to invite dissent, encourage honesty and then listen carefully without judgment. Be careful not to go on the defensive when people do tell it as they see it: you may learn that you are creating some of the confusion. Approach this with intent to understand and then take responsibility for communication with clarity about the issues you find. I think you’ll see the payoff in productive output is significant.
A Slice of Life Balance
We all know that it’s dangerous to walk and read emails or texts on our devices. But knowing ≠ doing.
I was in the Atlanta airport just a couple of hours before writing this month’s newsletter. Those of you who’ve been in that airport (I’m guessing 90% of you), know that when you get off the train that takes passengers from concourse to concourse, you walk out towards a bank of escalators. I watched a guy who was walking while looking at his smartphone screen and only peripherally surveying what was ahead. I noticed about a slow-motion second before he unintentionally attempted to walk up the down escalator. He went face down as he lost his balance, only realizing his error at the last second when it was too late to course-correct.
There are days where I could have made that very mistake as I walked while reading or typing something on my phone. And I know you’ve all done it too. So let’s learn a lesson from this guy’s embarrassing and painful mistake.
No walking and typing/reading/etc. on your smart phone. Try it for 30 days to get used to looking at something other than your device. I promise you won’t suffer massive productivity loss or be viewed as unresponsive because someone had to wait until you came to a full stop to reply.
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