You really can’t get by in business without knowing some jargon. It’s like a little black dress (LBD). You put it on because it goes with everything and it evokes Audrey Hepburn’s effortless style (gentlemen can substitute a three piece suit and James Bond as played by Daniel Craig for a similarly iconic image). Slip into some jargon and you fit in to almost any situation. Instant acceptance! You look very smart!
Like the LBD, you can only trot out your jargon so many times before people start to wonder if you’re really stylish/smart or lazy/lazy (and that you can’t express yourself without relying on a verbal crutch). Here are three words that we’re trying to banish from our day-to-day speech. I call them LBD words. They go with everything, they can fit almost every situation and unless you introduce some colour once in a while, they lose their zing.
Use it in a sentence: Do you have the bandwidth for this project?
What’s the matter with just saying: Will you have time for this project?
Why it’s lame: bandwidth measures usable digital space. Time measures both objective time (as in the stuff you measure in hours/minutes) and subjective time (that feeling about how much work you can take on and still do it well.) Bandwidth feels objective and absolute—and do you really want to treat people like machines? Also, you sound like the world’s biggest tool when you say it. So stop saying it.
Use it in a sentence: Your Facebook page is where you curate content, and create conversation.
What’s the matter with just saying: Your Facebook page is where you post interesting stuff that’s relevant to your promotion/business/whatever, and talk to people about it.
Why it’s lame: curating is something that people who work in museums do when they pick and choose what mummies to put out for the mummy exhibit, or what artwork to display to emphasize certain characteristics in a body of work. Those are heady associations. Is sharing stuff on Facebook really about curating? Why do we need to elevate the activity to something like CURATION for crying out loud? It’s like calling an expert a guru—the elevation by association is just absurd.
Use it in a sentence: Let’s take this conversation offline.
What’s the matter with just saying: Let’s talk about that privately.
Why it’s lame: besides being another example of a digital concept made into a day-to-day metaphor, offline is like saying you gotta roll up those sleeves and get analog with your bad self and whatever it is that merits a longer conversation, or a private discussion. It’s silly and overblown. Just go talk amongst yourselves.
What LBD words are you just dying to retire for the spring?
I’m on low bandwidth guys. I gotta go curate a bone-dry gin martini and take this one offline.