“Sixty-three percent of all statistics are made up … including this one.”
~ Scott Adams
We laugh at the Dilbert cartoons, the foolishness of the pointed-headed
boss, and the hopelessness of the hapless workers trapped in cubicles that
are more like rat mazes than a working environment of self-actualized adults.
Then we commute long distances in impossible traffic to replicate the very
experience we just enjoyed laughing at over coffee that morning. Therein lies
the irony of corporate America.
First of all, the awful seriousness and obscurity of business language and
communication style is not your fault. The odds are you walked into a job and
inherited language that has been floating through cubicles like a thick dank
fog for the last 20 years. You inherited the “Dilbert” speak — the obscuring
language that for lack of better ideas, and very real fears of losing a job or
promotion is slavishly copied by everyone in the office, from annual report to
annual report — and from share holder meeting to share holder meeting. We
don’t refer to a grammar or syntax book when we write a business plan for the
company. We refer to last year’s plan and copy the most popular words and
Oh come on. Quit protesting. You did it. I did it. We all do it.
And the copy comes out looking something like this:
We support the full integration of employee diversification in order to allow
actualization at all levels of programming that together focus on the
implementation of available opportunities that may manifest during the
You are free to use that paragraph anytime you have nothing meaningful to add to the conversation but it is important to utter some words at the conference table.
Presenting the above paragraph to a committee can take up to five PowerPoint
slides including two graphs.
Just project bullet points up on the wall and listen to the “oohs and ahhs.”
Yes! You are speaking their language! Like me, they will have no idea what
you’re talking about but no worries. Out of sheer force of habit, your audience
will applaud and claim they understand perfectly and thank you for that insightful
and “brilliant” presentation.
The Starbuck’s Sumatra roast and frosted donuts could have also helped.