Saturday, November 27, 2010

corporate blah

I've realised that working in the corporate world with all its double-speak and triple-speak and politically correct specious verbiage can only weaken the foundation one might have established for the rules of language and clear communication. As countless sentences are created and uttered (or printed) to avoid implying the wrong thing about gender and race, about medical and physical conditions and about habits and to also comply with some unsaid need for obfuscation, we as listeners can only unconsciously pick up some of the phrases and words we hear and evolve into drones ourselves. One way I have found useful to slow this eventual decay of our ability to say exactly what we mean without being abstruse is to silently edit and correct the sentences you hear or read. I highly recommend Richard Lanham's books (Revising Prose and Revising Business Prose) as guides for this. Both books are infectious: once you understand his approach, you will likely find yourself correcting paragraphs without having to practise too much.

In the spirit of outrage, I leave you with a fresh example of oblique-speak I heard a few minutes ago:

the next few slides are going to focus in on high level details of ...: in was probably used incorrectly (after all, you cannot zoom in on a "zoom out" view of a map, unless you're explaining relative velocity to a classroom). Perhaps the speaker was a fan of the Paul Greengrass Unsteadicam technique where the camera gets you closer to the action but also sends items out of focus.

1 comment:

Himanshu said...

I completely agree with your views Mr.Thomas. You really get sometimes pissed off by the double or triple meaning.

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