This week it’s not about one word but some combinations that left me cold.
There’s rarely anything terribly wrong with a particular word. And part of the joy of words is putting them together in creative ways. However, the reason a lot of corporate-speak is unintelligible to the reader/listener is that the combination of words just doesn’t make sense. I know it’s not normally a deliberate attempt to confuse us or obfuscate the truth. It’s more likely an attempt at making something (or yourself) seem more important.
I heard some lovely examples today. A journalist I know was posting live from a press conference on Twitter. Always good fodder for weasel word hunters! His posts included including the following gems, as direct quotes:
next generation learning space
(is this a classroom? A web site? An intergalactic playroom? NASA Class of 2011?)
underlying project management philosophy
(I am guessing they were quite organised and methodical in their approach, but really…)
overlay transport virtualisation
(well, that one is just tech jargon, plain and simple. Huh?)
The best writing and speaking paints a picture in our minds and sparks the imagination. The worst leaves us confused and bewildered. None of those words are particularly awful on their own (well, except perhaps the use of ‘space’ which has reached plague proportions lately in our quest to be non-specific), but in combination they fail to paint a picture. For me anyway.