Tamsin Constable

Run up the flag pole (but don’t lie in the long grass)

‘Run up the flag pole and see who salutes’. This is one of my favourite examples of the ‘new business speak’ with which so many companies liberally season their written communications.

Using Plain English in letters, emails, memos, direct mail etc results in three times more responses than jargon. But if you riddle your communications with jargon, you could do your business more harm than good.

Phrases such as ‘win-win situation’, ‘think outside the box’, ‘blue-sky thinking’, ‘singing from the same song sheet’ and ‘at the coalface’ are more than just a nuisance: 62% of managing directors who receive such prospecting material say it makes the message so unintelligible that it is counter-productive.

“There is a belief amongst a significant majority of business personnel that inserting ‘new business speak’ somehow shows them as being intelligent and professional,” said Mark Young of Retriever, which did the research. “Instead, it would seem that the opposite is true. People are just fed up with being sent letters that, rather than convey intention, are full of innuendo and misleading sentences.”

Another cracking example is ‘not lying in the long grass on this decision’.

Don’t you just love it?