What are your words saying about you?

What are your words saying about you?

Category: Presenting

What are your words saying about you?

Recently I’ve been thinking about the words we choose to use at work, day to day and when speaking to those we consider to be important(during a presentation for example).

The words that we choose can say something about us and I think they fall into three categories.

The phrases you use.

Sometimes you pick these up from those around you and they may say a lot about the company culture; or they may tell other’s how you see the world?

For example, do you use aggressive terms? Do you bite the bullet, shoot from the hip, have a stab at it or pick your battles?

Or maybe the phrases you prefer to are more team based … do you pass the baton, take one for the team, have a level playing field or kick the ball out of the park.

Or have you picked up some of the phrases that appear in Business Babble Bingo like blue ocean strategy, boil the ocean or cross pollinate?

You may have used these phrases for so long that you don’t even notice your frequency of use. But I would suggest you start to note how often you say them and … if it’s a lot, consider what they say to others about you?

The terminology you use.

Is what you say splattered with abbreviations, acronyms and industry specific terminology? If it is … does anyone know what you mean?

If you go on PTO and put an OOO message on your email response directing the recipient to a new PM to deal with the CX ASAP in your absence*, are you expecting the other person to translate what you have to say before they can do anything else?

Does it add value to what you have to say?

Don’t ask your audience to work hard to understand what you are talking about.

How much is business speak?

Sometimes, during a presentation run through, when the speaker believes the audience is “important” they use words they would never use at any other time.

They say something like “Our core customer centric values allow us to deliver engagement to our end users” instead of “we care about our customers” or “price point” when they mean “price.”

Business speak implies that you want to appear more important than you feel. No one will ever tell you it’s nonsense in case they look foolish … but that’s what everyone is thinking!

I know I’m all about the delivery of your message but if you find yourself “looking for synergy to run the flag up the flagpole before you take AL**”, it might be worth considering what you are actually saying and … if there is a better way of saying it!


*   If you go on Paid Time Off and put an Out of Office message on your email response directing the recipient to a new Project Manager to deal with the Customer Experience As Soon As Possible in your absence.

** “looking for cooperation to see if your idea is worth pitching before you take Annual Leave”