Sometimes even the best communicators succumb to Corporate Blah Blah. Maybe because it’s easier to get approvals on vague statements that make all your sources happy. Or because some business folk think the only intelligent style of writing is that which sounds like a business school textbook. Or because you naturally start to communicate in the language you’re immersed in — English, Spanish, Mandarin, Blah Blah.
Regardless, we all do it now and then. Even the elite of corporate communication — the powers at the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC).
They sent me an e-mail last month, inviting me to take a survey about something or other. I’m still not sure what. Here’s what the e-mail said:
Building on our commitment to provide exceptional value for members, the 2010 international board set the wheels in motion to develop a career path that would be a new global pillar of excellence for our profession. What began as a single project has grown into an association-wide initiative that will change who we are by bringing clarity and more relevance to the members we serve and the businesses that you serve.
In 2010 we established the Lifelong Learning Committee to develop a roadmap of the communication career continuum that would align important programs like the Gold Quill Awards, Accreditation and professional development with your needs. We have held two Career Summits and facilitated topic-based dialogue with communication professionals across the globe. As we listened to and learned from members, IABC’s global standard took on a broader value that called for a clearly defined body of knowledge for business communication.
In February, eight knowledge areas capturing the essence of the profession were proposed to the board. These knowledge areas capture IABC’s global standard, and serve as the overarching categories representing the breadth of knowledge that you need to become a strategic business partner.
Our 18-month journey has been rich with discovery, and we are ready to move to the next level. That’s where you come in….
After reading that, I’m not sure I want to come in. Anything that includes the phrase “roadmap of the communication career continuum” sounds scarier to me than Stephen King’s The Shining.
“Facilitated topic-based dialogue” could be dreadful, too. But when unmasked, it’s not so horrifying. It just means “talked about specific things.”
There are some bright spots, though. For one, “IABC’s global standard took on a broader value.” Not sure how to translate that, but it sounds almost as good as “mui beneficioso.” And then there’s everyone’s favorite: “We are ready to move to the next level.” Phew. Because this level is way too confusing for me. Let’s just go to the next one and see if things get clearer up there.
Now, I don’t mean to “blahspheme” IABC. I’ve been a satisfied member and active promoter for almost 15 years. But this Doozy is proof that we’re all susceptible to Corporate Blah Blah — even those of us who preach against it. Stay alert!