So much workplace communication is just crap. Big words trying to sound smart and important. Vague words trying to obscure the specifics. Jargon trying to belong with the insiders’ club. And OMG the acronyms.
Several years ago, I invented an acronym to illustrate just how senseless and confusing the vocabulary of business can be:
C.R.A.P. = Corporate Rhetoric And Pomposity
I poke fun at the crappy way people talk and write at work. But don’t be fooled by the lighthearted teasing. C.R.A.P. is a serious business risk, and I’m serious about solving this problem for my clients. That’s why I added “Cutter of C.R.A.P.” to my job title. For real:
I talk and write ad nauseum about C.R.A.P.-cutting (like here and here and here). To know me is to know that I’m on a crusade to replace corporate-speak with plainspoken language that’s easy to hear, read, understand … and maybe even enjoy.
Please try to enjoy the following (bonus points if you can read this aloud without taking a breath):
As we prepare for Q2, our PMs and SMEs are crafting UVPs to deliver on the KPIs established by our ELT, because the BOD is expecting record-breaking ROI in both B2B and B2C.
Even if you get the gist, please admit that all those acronyms have a mind-numbing effect. And is that what you want from your customers and colleagues? Numb minds?
Most acronyms are C.R.A.P., and we’d be better off without them.
But holy moly do people hold tight to their abbreviations. I can practically feel the bristles of defensiveness as you mutter your yeah-buts:
“Yeah, but acronyms are useful shorthand. Why say six words when a few letters will do?”
“Yeah, but those acronyms are widely understood in my company and our industry.”
“Yeah, but if I’m not fluent in our leaders’ acronyms, how will I ever get promoted?”
Mhm. Obliterating acronyms is a tough sell.
So, I’ve decided to peddle a few acronyms of my own.
For your consideration, I give you 9 new acronyms. Think of them as a bridge from my crusade to keep it simple to your desire for brevity and “code.” Say them. Learn them. Live them.
1. TOYCAR = Turn On Your Camera And Respond
2. AMP = Answer Messages Promptly
3. WHAT = We Hate Ambiguous Talk
4. NUMBER = No Useless Meetings Because Everyone’s Running
5. DRYEYES = Don’t Read Your Endless Yawning Eyesore Slides
6. EWFY = Everyone’s Waiting For You
7. WTF = What’s The Focus?
8. MILKY = Multitasking Is Likely Killing You
9. QUALITY = Quit Using Acronyms Like I Told You
Here’s a little reward for anyone who’s made it to the bottom of this post. You know the acronym CYA? Historically, these letters stand for “cover your ass.” My wise husband suggests that we stop obsessing over our own butts and focus instead on others. He’s reinvented CYA to stand for a different phrase:
BONUS: CYA = Consider Your Audience
Invent or reinvent an acronym and share it with the rest of us. Let’s make our abbreviated world of words a little more enjoyable.