Book review: Talk Normal

Emma De Vita reviews the new book by Tim Phillips

Talk Normal, by Tim Phillips
Talk Normal, by Tim Phillips

This is the kind of book every manager in love with business jargon should be forced to read. Do you hate it when your boss talks about diarising a meeting in which you will interface, think outside the box and then be able to implement strategies going forward?

Business-speak is for David Brent wannabes trying to sound more competent and important than they actually are. It's true to say that the best business brains will rarely resort to using MBA jargon - if only every other manager would do the same.

Tim Phillips, the author of Talk Normal, is on a mission to stop the business-speak, jargon and waffle. He argues that people use jargon because it conveys power and status by creating an 'in' group. Think of doctors, for example: if you're in the 'out' group then you naturally adopt the lingo in order to become one of them - it's a defence mechanism.

Although it's tempting to try to sound clever for no reason, you really should stop because all you're doing is adding to the confusion. Make a real effort to edit out the jargon you use and to pull others up on it. If you start talking normally again, your colleagues might well feel brave enough to follow suit. And that would be a good thing, don't you think?

Emma De Vita is books editor of Management Today

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