The Irony Board

Riddle us this, Batman: If we’re so enamored of abbreviations and acronyms, why do we protract and convolute our speech so much?

Ironic, isn’t it?

Consider:

  • Rather than, “Prioritize,” we’re likely to hear someone say, “At base level, this project mighty be best undertaken in incremental time-phases.”
  • Rather than, “Let’s coordinate,” we’re likely to hear someone say, “Let’s consider the implementation of a tactical initiative to operationalize compatible reciprocal alignment.”
  • Rather than, “We bombed,” we’re likely to hear someone say, “Given the less-than-optimal results of our organizational actualization vis-a-vis our data-driven revenue projections, we’re going to transition to more detailed analytics and regenerated strategic forecasting models from now on as we look ahead going forward in the future.”

If you take that to be exaggeration, you haven’t been in any meetings or conference calls lately — or you haven’t paid attention in the ones you’ve attended.

What Do We Do Now?

While the prospects for clear communication may, indeed, seem bleak, we have a suggestion as humble and practical as it is modest and unassuming: We propose that every company employing more than two people appoint an Irony Board. Comprising linguists, organizational and behavioral psychologists, psychics, clairvoyants, cryptanalysts, mind-readers, and a gaggle of lay people with Secret Decoder Rings on all their fingers and all their thumbs, the purpose of Irony Boards will be to smooth out the wrinkles in their respective organizations’ communications.

In a company of two people, those two people should be able to police each other pretty well. In a company of more than two people, political and personal subterfuge, intrigue, and allegiances render linguistic fail-safes unreliable. If you don’t believe that, we’ll give you whatever odds you want that if you get chummy with the boss, Murfwhiffle in Accounting will be giving you the hairy eyeball. When that happens, you do NOT want Murfwhiffle as the arbiter of your communications..

Hold the Starch

We’re not suggesting our speech or our writing should be pressed stiff as the proverbial board. Neither are we suggesting there’s no room for style or flair. But a little review of some of our more inscrutable utterings couldn’t hurt. After all, do we really need anyone telling us we have to re-engineer proactive methodologies for streamlining our sonant expressions for the benefit of acquiring the latent mindshare of our target constituencies?

If the Irony Board can prevent even one percent of all corporate gibberish, it’s worth its weight in steam.

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