Presentation Content

Lesson 2: Remove business jargon… blah, blah, blah

Abstractions distance the audience from you as a speaker, they make it harder for you to connect your ideas with their lives. On bad days they make you sound like a charicature of corporate foolishness.  The most commonly used abstractions in presentations are jargon words and phrases.  Bullshit by any other name.  They roll off the speakers tongue and ‘splat’ there they are. Piling up around you until there’s nothing left to see but waffle.

If you want to leave a warm & human impression behind, and sound sincere, then delete stuff like this from your phrasebook.  No-one will notice if you do’t use such tired old guff, key people will notice if you do and they won’t be thinking ‘What joy that he’s talking like a  buffoon…’

To help you understand how audiences think ( Based on expensive and rigorous, and essentially fictitious research by the British Psychological Society) , I’ve also added the internal commentary that you’d get from the audience as you said each of these words or phrases-

  1. Empowerment- bullshit
  2. Synergy- Utter bullshit he means job cuts
  3. Commitment- don’t talk to me about commitment
  4. Bespoke- pompous oaf
  5. Blue sky thinking- fool
  6. Synergistic- I think he’s going to sack me, kill me and sell my kids for medical research
  7. Value-added- you’re about as relevant as Cliff Richard (Outside the UK, look him up)
  8. Leading-edge- When did we get in a time machine and go back to the 1980’s?
  9. Post-modern- Guardian (UK based liberal arts newspaper for students and hippies) reading poseur

Every company and industry also has its jargon.  Just notice what yours is and remove it from your lexicon.. Try testing your next big speech on your friends, family and pets.  If they think it sounds like bullshit.  Guess what?

Click here for the third lesson on getting your presenting language up to scratch.

Jim Harvey

Jim Harvey

Managing Director at The Message Business
Jim is the MD of The Message Business, a company which helps FTSE 100 companies to sell themselves, and their products better. Speech writer, Prezi trainer and designer, coach and consultant, Jim also finds time to be a proud father and husband.
Jim Harvey
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