I love to use podcasts as a way to clear my head and inspire creativity. New to my queue is “Game Plan,” a show by Bloomberg that dives into office culture. I listened to their episode on office jargon, and it made me think of just how easily the mass communication business can turn into the miscommunication business.
Most industries have jargon, and advertising is no exception. But our industry is different from many others. Our job is to construct and communicate messages to consumers clearly; and to do that, advertisers have the responsibility to break down a few communication barriers.
At the last “Friday at 4,” we played a game similar to Balderdash, using cards with office jargon terms and phrases on them. The phrases got pretty ridiculous, like “bleeding edge” and “open the kimono.” After the jargon was read by one player, all the other players wrote down a definition for that card. The players had to guess what the jargon meant or bluff their definition. All the cards were read aloud, and each player voted the correct definition. If a player’s definition was chosen, a point was awarded to that player. If a player picked the right definition, they got a point, too. If a player submitted a definition that was close to the correct term, they got a point as well. If no one guessed the actual definition, the reader got three points.
It was a fun way to spark creativity in writing and persuasion, and the game allowed us to assess our own use of the dreaded language. Even commonly used phrases, like “let’s circle back to this,” can become confusing and unnecessary.
Once we realize how our words are perceived, it’s easier to construct more meaningful messages and accomplish our communication goals.