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Is there a simpler way to say that? Probably.

– Article by Hugh Scholey, Managing Director at Big Red Oak


As an English major at university, I was fascinated by my roommates in the business program. They talked funny.

Bizspeak, also known as the jargon used in business, poured out of them at an alarming rate. They loved what they were learning and embraced the language of their newfound passion as they dreamed of business careers. I guess you could say they wanted to optimize paradigms. One of them actually did, and I still don’t know what he meant.

Fast forward more than twenty years, and I’m helping to run a consulting business for the third time in my career. Bizspeak hasn’t gone away; and, while I’m not fond of it, I’ve accepted using the vernacular for practical reasons. My clients speak it, and I need to talk in the language of my clients and partners.

It’s not a case of “If you can’t beat them, join them.” I learned to flag bizspeak when working with others in order to ask for clarity. Many bizspeak terms are vague because they’re not clearly defined, or overused to the point people use the word with different intentions. That’s the case with the word optimize, as Fast Company realized and wrote about years ago.

Big Red Oak helps companies explain themselves to the rest of the world, so we’re in the business of creating clarity. Clients in complex industries, such as AstraZeneca in biopharmaceutical science, already have a precise scientific and medical language they’re required to use every day in their communications. The last problem a company in a complex industry needs is added complications caused by using bizspeak or industry jargon.

So yes, Big Red Oak talks bizspeak. We can also talk pharmaceutical, engineering, manufacturing, IT, finance, marketing, HR, automotive and nuclear jargon. When we help companies create clarity, we often start by asking, “Is there a simpler way to say that?”