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Eliminate Euphemisms That Elude Meaning or Action


Posted by Booher, Dianna at Tuesday, 05/29/2012 10:59 am
 
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Euphemisms have their place in social settings. "Our neighbors plan to downsize in the next few months" sounds more gracious than "Our neighbors are selling everything they can to raise cash and avoid bankruptcy." In a parent-teacher conference, the parents often hear, "Johnny is a natural leader" rather than "Johnny distracts the whole class with his antics."

But euphemisms complicate things at work: A manager says to her subordinate who continues to come to her with problems and decisions rather than taking initiative on his own: "Jordan, I trust your judgment as a supervisor" when she means "Would you stop bothering me with such petty issues." Other examples may sound familiar:

"His vision for this department is a little different." (Strange philosophy? Management style? Weird control policy?)
"The parameters on that project might be expanding somewhat."(Headcount? Changing criteria? Adding objectives?)
"We'll base your bonuses on enhancing the customer experience."(Higher customer-satisfaction scores? Faster checkout? More appealing d├ęcor? Cleaner environment when customers visit?)

Simply put yourself on the listening end of the project you're about to delegate: What comes to mind? If you draw a blank about your next action, not good. If you visualize a multiple-choice quiz and all answers seem either correct or incorrect, the test item is flawed.

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No matter the difficulty of your message, say it. If you want action, state it.


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