We’ve all sat in those meetings when people pull out the latest buzzwords and newfound formulas for success. It reminds me of an old saying: ‘If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit’.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for keeping up with trends, innovation, opportunities and measuring things. I’m just not for the bullshit that many people put with it. Big words, sentences that don’t mean anything, and stuff like this gem below, that crossed my desk last year:
It’s jargon. It’s waffle. It’s saying something, without saying anything.
As a piece of communication, it’s severely lacking. It’s one of those things that looks good in a document or presentation slide, but everyone asks in a more private setting, after the meeting, ‘what does that really mean?’
Years ago, the founding partner of an agency I was working at gave a great reason for why people do this. In his career of 30+ years, he realised a pattern. It’s illustrated in the diagram below. Essentially, he said junior people in the industry wanted to sound more senior, like they knew what they were talking about. As a way of doing this, they use a lot of jargon and industry buzzwords. Then, he said, as people become more confident in their ability and experience, they usually parked these bullshit terms, and tended to speak like people again.
Look, we’ve all talked a bit of bullshit at one time or another. I guess the trick is trying to limit or eradicate it from your work.
Or put another way, try and be an island of reality in a sea of bullshit.