Incomprehensible gobbledegook masquerading as corporate comms

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Despite years in the business, it is still surprising that very intelligent and competent executives so often hide behind jargon and management speak in their communication.

A recent book by Charlie Corbett identifies instances of incomprehensible gobbledegook that do more to illustrate corporate hubris than to communicate a real message. He quotes a company saying…”we are changing the world through digital experiences.  Our creative marketing and document solutions empower everyone”…

Seriously? What does that mean?  Who outside the organisation could possibly work out what it is the company does?

Another worrying communications trend is how “solutions” have crept into every other description of company activity. In financial services we often see companies claim to offer “Technology (or Fintech) Solutions”.  But what is it that the company actually does?  Hardware? Off the shelf software packages? Systems design? Service bureau services?  Shared platforms?  All of the above? Something else entirely?  There’s simply no way of knowing.

Indeed, if any organisation is considering using the word “solutions” in any description, they should look for a substitute or better still, simply describe what they do in plain English.

There are many other examples of overused words and phrases – and those that don’t really mean anything – used in an effort to sound important, and you should feel free to add your own examples in the comments.

A favourite example from Charlie’s book is the sentence used by a company …”If half the battle is identifying what the challenges are, the ball is very much in the brand’s court to action the second half”…

Apart from being almost impossible to decipher, it is also an example of a pretty ordinary mixed metaphor (and poor grammar).  It also uses numbers in a confusing way – half the battle and half the match doesn’t add up to a whole anything (and that gives us a good subject for another time).