The Language of Leadership

Have you ever taken your car in for service and heard the mechanic talk to you about a cracked manifold? (VERY nasty, BTW). Or maybe you've gone to a doctor who told you your symptoms indicated preliminary Pharyngitis and you needed a broad spectrum, BID?

All you're thinking is, "This is so much blah, blah, blah...speak plain English!" Great advice. But why don't business leaders take it?

No matter what industry you're in, you have your own jargon. Whether you speak in IT ( God help us all on this one), health care, engineering, or construction, you have a specialized language, insider buzzwords and idioms. Many of them are vague and at times unintelligible, even to the insiders!

Say it So Your Grand Mother Can Understand It!

The best advice for leaders is to use plain-speak. Cut the jargon, stop using acronyms, and approach every speech, every email, every presentation as an opportunity to show how brilliant you are using your own words and language!

Imagine that your grandmother is in the audience. Naturally, she is a very intelligent woman since she has a grandson/daughter as a business leader!

Do you think she understands ROI, TCO, ERP, bandwidth, ALAP, scalability, flexibility or cross platform? How many "regular folks" do you have in your audience who might be the same as your grand mom? Intelligent listeners, who might miss out on an idea because you used too many in-terms and jargon of your industry.

The key to communicating like a true leader is to know your audience. Use a language everyone can understand.

That means think like and write for the audience! So, if you are a medical researcher speaking at a conference of neurosurgeons, you know that your audience can handle the scientific buzzwords. OK, they can get into radioactive isotopes and acoustic neurinomas.

But unless you are sure that everyone of your listeners is tuned-into jargon, better to go broad and just be yourself without the acronyms and in-lingo. Think of Oprah or Ronald Reagan. No one scratched their heads and looked confused after they spoke. But most of all, think of your grandmother and make her proud!