Research Survey Suggests A Presentation Jargon Problem

By Andrew Ivey | Presentations

May 13

We’ve long promoted the collective avoidance of management jargon in office presentations. But now, it seems that it’s official. Because when you use office jargon or management-speak it is nearly guaranteed to upset your work colleagues. That’s a conclusion reached by a new survey of 2,000 office workers in the UK. And, it seems that the presentation jargon problem is everywhere.

Presentation jargon problem

Presentation Jargon Problem Is Everywhere In The Office

The survey, by the Institute of Leadership & Management, considers the annoyances of modern office workers. And not surprisingly it highlights the annoying features of language and office vocabulary.

Survey respondents reported on a variety of office-speak howlers that included:

Thinking outside the box

and,

Going forward

and,

Let’s touch base

The first example originates with an IBM recruitment advert from the 1960s. The second example is management-speak for “next” or “in the future”. It’s apparent that many managers  can no longer refer to the future in their presentations…it’s always “going forward”. Strange. The third example originates with the sport of baseball…or possibly rounders.

Presentation Jargon Problem Everywhere

Anyone who’s been on a PresentPerfect training or coaching session knows how dispiriting management jargon can be to an audience. It saps the spirit and leaves an audience feeling strangely isolated…particularly when there’s no attempt made by the presenter to explain the words.

There are plenty of other annoyances uncovered by researchers into office jargon. But it’s fair to say that their targeting of office jargon taps a rich vein.

Only last year the loans business Wonga, carried out a similar survey into annoying office phrases…many of which creep into office presentations.

But, the Wonga survey went a little further than other linguistic research. Not content with audiences feeling isolated by jargon, it found that office workers felt embarrassed and awkward when they heard phrases such as:

It’s on my radar

and,

Flagging up

and,

Close of play

Making your audience feel embarrassed can’t be the goal of any business presenter. And as a speaker, you don’t want to lose the respect of your audience.

But, it seems that there are many managers yet to find out the grisly truth. So, you use public speaking gobbledygook and office jargon in your presentations at your peril.

Of course, you can always read these language tips for effective public speaking. Or, why not join a presentation training course? Each one day course aims to give you the skills and confidence to avoid the presentation jargon problem. So, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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About the Author

The Principal Trainer at training business Time to Market. Based in Oxford, I run presentation and public speaking training courses, coaching sessions and seminars throughout the UK. Andrew Ivey on Google+

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