Thoughts on Simpler Business Language

In search of a different and better business world.

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I have often wondered what the business world would be like if people routinely didn’t talk about “cloud-based next-generation platforms” and honestly expect to be understood.

While we’re at it:

  • What if every new tech release wasn’t superfluously branded “as a service”?
  • What if self-anointed thought leaders recognized the accelerating rate of technological change and tried to communicate as clearly as possible?
  • In this era of pervasive communications, what if people went out of their way to be understood—and not just drop neologisms, jargon, and buzzwords?
  • Word-processing applications ship with spell check and grammar check. What if they also included checks for coherence? What if Microsoft Word stopped users from 70-word sentences that, while creating grammatically correct, made absolutely no sense when read?

What would this world look like? Maybe some management consultants wouldn’t have very much to say. Maybe they’d have to relearn their mother tongues.

Some argue that our tech-heavy, rapidly moving world necessitates a completely new language. The old rules of English no longer apply.

Bullocks.

There are plenty of good tech writers who communicate complex ideas in understandable ways. Steven Levy is one of them.

Simon Says

Give simplicity a try at work. You may very well find that others respond better to your suggestions and directions. Ditch that incredibly long sentence in lieu of two or three sharper, shorter ones.

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