Sometimes I’m asked to provide media training. I enjoy the job, but it’s not without problems.
The biggest is that the companies I train are, accidentally or on purpose, teaching their staff a strange language that sounds like English, but isn’t. They often talk about synergies, leverage, solutions, facilitation, challenges, issues, action items, low hanging fruit or win-win scenarios, all words that we wouldn’t use outside the meeting room, because we know it would make someone punch us.
We dress up ordinary tasks as if they are somehow significant. We don’t ask people to do something, we reach out to them. We don’t arrange a call, we set up a bridge, as if we are the magical engineers of interaction – interacting, of course, used to be called talking to each other until we decided that wasn’t a sufficiently important description for the magic that occurs during a conference call.
And so I’ve set up Talk Normal to help me put this right, in a small way.
Talk Normal is, I hope, a resource for people I have media trained, and a taster for those who I will train in the future. I hope also it will stimulate some conversation about how we communicate in business, if only for someone to tell me I’m wrong. I can take it. As a freelance journalist, it’s my job to take a bit of a kicking occasionally, and blogs where the comments are a bit tasty are always so much more interesting.
It is not an instruction manual, so if I put a comma in the wrong place or split an infinitive, you can point it out to me, but I will probably ignore you.
I will stick to a few rules, in the next post.