A term for confusing communication that tries to sound smart, yet has obscure meaning, was just introduced to me. The term is biz-blab. I immediately was captivated. How often do you hear biz-blab? I hear it with incredible frequency. I hear it in news reporting. I hear it from consultants, sorry to say. I hear it from Direct Reports trying to impress their boss, and me, if I am in the room.

How to address it? I typically ask for definition of the terms I don’t understand. Or, ask that the individual clarify the statement.  As I drill down, I find one of two things: they do not have the idea crystal clear in their own mind, or they need to refine their language so the point emerges succinct and understandable.

Sometimes, lack of clarity comes from rushing to communicate before the idea is clear to the listener. In other instances, we don’t know what we really want to say, or haven’t teased out a clear point.

I find this particularly common in Vision and Mission statements. If yours sounds like everyone else’s, you are speaking biz-blab. Does it matter? I say “yes”. We want our team to be aligned around clear goals with a stretch target that makes the long days worth while. We want our customers to work with us because we have superior products or services that will make their business run better than their competitors. We need to be clear on our why, our what and our how. This won’t sound like biz-blab if we do it well.

What communication do you need to review and improve this week? If you are not sure, ask someone on your team to recite the vision and mission statement. If you don’t know, my bet is they won’t either.

Take your time. As Mark Twain said “If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter.”


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