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Communication Idol

The hit television show American Idol has recently premiered another season of showcasing young singers and allowing viewers to vote their favorites toward stardom. For those of you who don't watch the show -- or won't admit to watching it -- here's how it works: After contestants perform on live television, viewers can cast their votes by calling special telephone numbers or by sending text messages. The performer receiving the fewest votes goes home, but all the others return the following week to try again. Each season's winner receives a recording contract and a head start on the road to success.

After each weekly performance, a three-judge panel provides instant feedback to the singers. Randy Jackson, a Grammy Award-winning record producer and former bass player for the group Journey, sits on the panel. A music industry veteran, Jackson has mastered his profession's lingo and each contestant, whether male or female, hears a critique that goes something like this:
"Yeah-uhhh! Yo, yo dude. What's up dawg? How you feelin'? You feelin' all right? Listen, man. I've got to give you props. You're doing your thing and it was dope. You're the bomb, baby.”
If you are in the entertainment industry, or a devoted viewer, you probably understand that this performer impressed Randy. If you are hearing the vernacular for the first time, you are probably confused, to put it mildly. Thank goodness, the language we use in our professions is easier to understand, right? Or is it? Consider the following compilation of business jargon:
"Let's talk offline after the OD quality circle. With all this synergy, we should tap our knowledge network, benchmark some competency profiles, and find best practices for establishing employee engagement through blended learning. I have to go meet with an ADO in one of our SBUs, but at the end of the day, it's up to us to find a seamless solution to our disconnect."
Every industry, profession, and organization has its own specialized vocabulary. We use business phrases, buzzwords, abbreviations, and acronyms as verbal shortcuts to streamline communication among colleagues. But rather than improving communication, jargon often hinders it. If the words you use lack substance, you'll leave your employees scratching their heads.

Be the bomb with your employees: use language everyone can understand.

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