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  • Jack Rugan

Journey and other bad "corpspeak"


First and foremost, I've never been a fan of "corporate rock", that radio friendly genre complete with glossy and sterile recording production and vocals in that screechy upper tenor register. One of the most famous bands that fall into that mix is Journey, others from that era being the likes of Foreigner, Styx, Kansas, Boston, or likely any other band named after a state or city! Now, this might very well be your thing. And I admit, there are handful of songs from these band that I kinda' like. However, I can only take that sound in tiny doses. The formula for that sound gets stale right away to my ears. Give me something with more edge and authenticity. Now, I don't really mean to pick on Journey, however I reference them here because the band's name is also one of the current yet already stale "corpspeak" terms that's being used ad nauseam in today's professional presentations and meetings. I can't tell you how many times I've witnessed in the past year or two a presentation that starts with "We'd like to take you on a journey to success." or one that ends with "Let's take this journey together."Cue up some sappy music to go with that contrived delivery.

Now, if you're not yet familiar with the term "corpspeak", it's obviously short for corporate speak, the often overused and quickly passé terms and phrases delivered by senior or middle management to motivate their teams. Some examples (sorry to upset your stomach here): "let's circle back", "let's sync up", "help your customer through their journey", blah blah blah. Recently I was on a call in which the presenter delivered one of the so-called hottest and newest terms recently added to the corpspeak library: pivot. During the presentation, I started counting just how many times the term was used. By the twelfth time, I quickly pivoted my laptop cursor to the "hang up" icon. I then pivoted out of my chair and quickly pivoted to the restroom to lose my lunch. You get my point here, right? If you're overusing terms and phrases like this, your presentation delivery starts sounding very "canned". Your astute audience will easily pick up on it and you have suddenly lost all credibility and authenticity.

Now, let's go back to your favorite band or solo artist and a concert of theirs you attended. Did they cue up a song with the same story/introduction as they did the last time you had a chance to see them live? Starts sounding a bit stale, doesn't it? Sure, just about every performing musician (myself included) has great stories about how a certain song came about. However, every once in a while, it's essential to mix it up a bit.

For you as a professional presenter, you will likely have some of your favorite go-to phrases, terms, descriptions, one-liners, etc. The key, as noted above, is to mix it up a bit. It naturally takes the presenter out of their comfort zone. This ultimately creates a adrenaline rush and suddenly new found energy is introduced to your delivery. This is one of the many techniques you and your team will learn in The "Rock The Presentation!" Workshop. To learn more, click here.


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