Some days I’m reminded somewhat of the Monty Python Dead Parrot sketch. In this sketch, many euphemisms are employed to describe the dead parrot, rather than stating outright the parrot is dead.
When am I reminded of this? When I hear palaver that is wrapped up in management speak. For example, the other day I overheard someone describe a post-meeting chat as a “touch point”. They then went on to organise a meeting but called it a “hang-out”. How old are we? 15???
I tweeted about this (@neane26) on the day it happened and my comment was picked up by @HideousPalaver. I found it interesting that we both thought of management speak in the same way.
Palaver is defined as idle chatter, or talk intended to charm or beguile. I subscribe to the beguile definition. I also believe it’s idle. It just fills up space with words that don’t DO anything, don’t add anything. Another example, being asked to put together a “package”. It’s a bloody powerpoint presentation people. Let’s not dress it up to be something it’s not.
Some days I like to play Palaver Bingo just to see how many times these words can be used in a meeting (sorry hang-out). My record was 41 in a 50 minute meeting. But I think that’s an underestimation as I had to be careful how I counted. The lines I drew in my notebook, like this |||||||, occasionally I had to dress up to make it look like I was doodling picket fences.
So, to whom can I address my complaint? And do you have any you’d like me to add to mine? I’m happy to collate them in a package, although there might be a certain amount of push back that prevents us from moving forward. In fact, they might contain ideas that we have to park until we can gain buy-in. But I’m willing to give it a go if you are.