Garr Reynolds of my favorite Presentation Zen has given me good reason to finally share my idea for curing corporate executives of incomprehensible language by posting his “Dimensionalizing the paradigm” and other marketing speak.
For many years, I lived in San Francisco, and carried on a dual life. (I know what you are thinking – not that kind!) By day, I was the director of training for a large financial services firm, and by night I taught martial arts classes to teenagers who were either in or on the edge of gang life. Many weekends I walked the streets of the Mission District, talking to kids and trying to encourage them to join our program. I learned very quickly that they had zero tolerance for touchy-feely language, and preferred to “keep it real.”
So one day, as I was sitting in a conference room listening to an excruciatingly obtuse presentation by a senior manager, it dawned on me:
My kids could coach the bullshit right out of this presentation in 5 seconds flat!
Imagine the scenario:
Joe, V.P. of Alliance Partnerships: “And as you can see from my deck, by creating a strategic partnership that focuses on key enablers of the new paradigm, we can leverage out of the box thinking and deliver an integrated solution to our end-users.”
Juan, the Gang Member Coach: “Joe, what the f**k are you talking about?”
In 5 minutes or less, Joe, the stammering V.P., would have to explain in clear, plain terms what he was trying to say.
I swear that one day I am going to make this happen.
[…] Use clear language. As much as you may feel pressure to use the fancy words in your industry, stick with clear, descriptive language. Avoid jargon, clichés and insider metaphors. If your audience is highly technical, use the terms that they relate to and expect. If it is a mixed crowd, give a variety of clear, topic-appropriate examples, with a few specific technical references that relate to that portion of your audience. If you still struggle to simplify your language, you could always get a gang member coach. […]
lol I love it when the small man shows the big man who’s boss.
That is the funniest thing I’v heard all week! Scary because it’s true.