Leading Through Language

Book description

Become a more effective leader—cut the jargon and say what you mean

Leveraging. Strategizing. Opening the kimono. Unlocking human capital. Trying to nail that BHAG. All on a go forward basis. These are only a few examples of the jargon-ridden language that is too often the mainstay of business communication. Jargon frustrates, confuses, and generally alienates listeners. Yet it's also everywhere, and using it can often seem like a mandatory requirement for anyone who wants to establish credibility in a professional workplace.

To be an effective leader, you must be brave enough to be the first to drop jargon in favor of simple, coherent language. This can be difficult if you've spent years immersed in business culture, but Leading Through Language will show just how much you've come to rely on jargon, why it's holding you back, and how to trim it away to more effectively convey information and ideas.

  • Understand why jargon is reviled, yet ubiquitous
  • Learn why "business speak" gets in the way of business
  • Discover what kind of language influences and inspires others
  • Convey ideas with clarity, energy, and conviction
  • Approach all communication as an act of leadership

Communication often falls by the wayside in favor of more measurable data-backed performance metrics; but good communication has the power to improve metrics in every area of an organization. Leading Through Language is the business world's much-needed guide to true leadership communication, showing you how to eliminate idle talk and master compelling communication.

Table of contents

  1. PREFACE AND ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
  2. INTRODUCTION
    1. STORY 1: “AM I BEING FIRED?”
    2. STORY 2: “WE WANT HER OFF OUR ACCOUNT TEAM”
    3. STORY 3: “WHAT EXACTLY ARE YOU SAYING?”
    4. THE RAMIFICATIONS OF JARGON
    5. JARGON IS EVERYWHERE IN THE WORKPLACE
    6. IF YOU WANT TO LEAD AT WORK, THIS BOOK IS FOR YOU
    7. THE HUMPHREY GROUP
    8. HOW THIS BOOK IS STRUCTURED
    9. ABOUT THE EXAMPLES
    10. SUMMARY
    11. NOTE
  3. PART I THE MANY FACES OF JARGON
    1. INTRODUCTION TO PART I: WHY DOES JARGON EXIST AND WHY SHOULD LEADERS CARE?
    2. INSPIRATIONAL LEADERS THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE SPURNED JARGON
    3. RESPECTED CORPORATE LEADERS ALSO SKIP THE JARGON
    4. BUT THERE ARE SOME BENEFITS TO JARGON… BENEFITS TO JARGON…
    5. THE MANY FACES – AND CONSEQUENCES – OF USING JARGON
    6. WHY JARGON EXISTS: THE SPECTRUM
    7. SUMMARY
    8. NOTE
    9. 1 YOU MUST START WITH LEADERSHIP
      1. WHAT IS LEADERSHIP?
      2. THE LINK BETWEEN LEADERSHIP AND COMMUNICATION
      3. START BY CONSCIOUSLY LOOKING AT LANGUAGE THROUGH THE LENS OF LEADERSHIP
      4. SUMMARY
      5. NOTE
    10. 2 THE (FEW) BENEFITS OF JARGON
      1. WHERE DO “EXPEDIENCY” AND “SHARED IDENTITY” JARGON SIT ON THE JARGON SPECTRUM?
      2. EFFICIENCY: JARGON THAT SERVES AS “VERBAL SHORTHAND”
      3. SIGNALING CREDIBILITY
      4. CREATING A SHARED CULTURE
      5. SUMMARY
      6. NOTES
    11. 3 ASSUMPTION-DRIVEN JARGON
      1. MAKING ASSUMPTIONS ON THE JARGON SPECTRUM
      2. THE CURSE OF KNOWLEDGE
      3. ACRONYMS AND OTHER SHORTHAND
      4. ASSUMING UNDERSTANDING OF COMPLEX CONCEPTS
      5. BEWARE GROUP ASSUMPTIONS AND THE POWER OF THE COLLECTIVE
      6. SUMMARY
      7. NOTES
    12. 4 INFLATION JARGON
      1. INFLATION ON THE JARGON SPECTRUM
      2. THE BETTER VERSION
      3. THE UNNECESSARY ADD-ON
      4. THE BAFFLING NOUN CLUSTER
      5. SUMMARY
      6. NOTES
    13. 5 LACK-OF–CLARITY JARGON
      1. LACK OF CLARITY ON THE JARGON SPECTRUM
      2. A SUBSTITUTE FOR THE HARD WORK OF THINKING
      3. VULNERABLE TO EXPOSURE
      4. WORDS OF THE DAY
      5. SUMMARY
      6. NOTES
    14. 6 OBFUSCATION JARGON
      1. OBFUSCATION ON THE JARGON SPECTRUM
      2. OBFUSCATION TO CONCEAL UNCOMFORTABLE TRUTHS
      3. OBFUSCATION CAN BE USED TO AVOID OR DEFER CONFLICT
      4. OBFUSCATION CAN BE USED TO CONFUSE AND MISLEAD
      5. SOMETIMES OBFUSCATION IS UNINTENTIONAL
      6. SUMMARY
      7. NOTES
  4. PART II USE THE LANGUAGE OF LEADERSHIP
    1. INTRODUCTION TO PART II: USE THE LANGUAGE OF LEADERSHIP
    2. WHAT IS THE LANGUAGE OF LEADERSHIP?
    3. HOW TO USE THE LANGUAGE OF LEADERSHIP
    4. REPEATABLE COMMUNICATION METHODOLOGY
    5. SUMMARY
    6. 7 ADOPT THE LEADER'S MINDSET
      1. BEFORE YOU THINK ABOUT LANGUAGE, ADOPT THE LEADER'S MINDSET
      2. USING THE LEADER'S MINDSET IS A SKILL
      3. SUMMARY
    7. 8 SCRIPT YOURSELF AS A LEADER
      1. SCRIPTING YOURSELF AS A LEADER IS A SKILL YOU MUST DEVELOP
      2. GET YOUR THINKING CLEAR WITH THE LEADER'S SCRIPT
      3. SUMMARY
      4. NOTE
    8. 9 USE THE LANGUAGE OF LEADERSHIP
      1. 11 WAYS TO USE THE LANGUAGE OF LEADERSHIP
      2. GUIDELINES
      3. SUMMARY
    9. 10 THE LANGUAGE OF LEADERSHIP IS…VISIONARY
      1. USE ASPIRATIONAL WORDS
      2. USE PRECISE LANGUAGE
      3. USE WORDS THAT SHOW YOUR EMOTIONAL INVESTMENT
      4. SUMMARY
      5. NOTES
    10. 11 THE LANGUAGE OF LEADERSHIP IS…AUDIENCE-CENTRIC
      1. BEING AUDIENCE-CENTRIC MEANS KNOWING WHO YOUR REAL AUDIENCE IS
      2. LISTEN TO YOUR AUDIENCE SO YOU CAN CHOOSE THE RIGHT WORDS
      3. BE READY TO SHIFT FROM ONE LEADERSHIP “DIALECT” TO THE NEXT
      4. USE LANGUAGE THAT SHOWS YOU HAVE HEARD
      5. SUMMARY
    11. 12 THE LANGUAGE OF LEADERSHIP IS… JARGON-FREE
      1. COMMIT TO USING THE LANGUAGE OF LEADERSHIP
      2. REPLACE JARGON WITH SUBSTANCE
      3. REMOVE UNNECESSARY OR MEANINGLESS JARGON
      4. DEFINE WHAT IS LEFT OVER
      5. BE VOCAL ABOUT DITCHING THE JARGON AND ENLIST OTHERS TO DO THE SAME
      6. SUMMARY
      7. NOTE
    12. 13 THE LANGUAGE OF LEADERSHIP IS… AUTHENTIC
      1. THE LANGUAGE OF LEADERSHIP IS AUTHENTIC
      2. STAY TRUE TO YOURSELF AND THE WORDS YOU USE
      3. AUTHENTIC LANGUAGE IS PERSONAL LANGUAGE
      4. AUTHENTIC LANGUAGE BALANCES STRENGTH WITH VULNERABILITY
      5. SUMMARY
    13. 14 THE LANGUAGE OF LEADERSHIP IS…PASSIONATE
      1. EMBRACE PASSION
      2. USE PASSION TO SUPPORT YOUR LEADERSHIP GOAL AND MESSAGE
      3. EXPRESS YOUR PASSION OPENLY
      4. SUMMARY
      5. NOTES
    14. 15 THE LANGUAGE OF LEADERSHIP IS…CONFIDENT
      1. THE LANGUAGE OF LEADERSHIP IS CONFIDENT
      2. GET CLEAR BEFORE YOU GET CONFIDENT
      3. COMMIT TO YOUR POSITION (DON'T HEDGE)
      4. CHOOSE WORDS THAT REFLECT YOUR ACTUAL LEVEL OF CONFIDENCE
      5. BE CONFIDENT, NOT ARROGANT
      6. ELIMINATE THE MINCING MODIFIERS
      7. SUMMARY
    15. 16 THE LANGUAGE OF LEADERSHIP IS…POSITIVE
      1. THE IMPACT OF NEGATIVES IS GREATER THAN POSITIVES
      2. ACKNOWLEDGE NEGATIVES THE RIGHT WAY
      3. MOVE FROM NEGATIVES TO POSITIVES
      4. KNOW THAT THERE IS ALWAYS A POSITIVE
      5. SUMMARY
      6. NOTES
    16. 17 THE LANGUAGE OF LEADERSHIP IS…DIRECT
      1. YOUR AUDIENCES WANT YOU TO BE DIRECT
      2. BE READY FOR – AND COMFORTABLE WITH – SOME CONFLICT
      3. BE DIRECT, NOT BLUNT
      4. AS ALWAYS, BE AUDIENCE-CENTRIC
      5. SUMMARY
      6. NOTES
    17. 18 THE LANGUAGE OF LEADERSHIP IS…CONCISE
      1. AUDIENCES CRAVE CLARITY – AND BREVITY
      2. LEADERS ARE CONCISE
      3. THE BEST WAY TO BE CONCISE
      4. LEADERS STRIP OUT THE FILLERS
      5. SKIP THE MEANINGLESS PREAMBLES
      6. SUMMARY
      7. NOTES
    18. 19 THE LANGUAGE OF LEADERSHIP IS… PROFESSIONAL
      1. KNOW WHAT CONSTITUTES PROFESSIONAL IN YOUR WORKPLACE AND OCCUPATION
      2. BE PROFESSIONAL, NOT CASUAL
      3. BE PROFESSIONAL, NOT FORMAL
      4. BEWARE PROFANITY
      5. SUMMARY
      6. NOTES
    19. 20 THE LANGUAGE OF LEADERSHIP USES…RHETORIC
      1. MATCH THE SOUND: ALLITERATION
      2. REPEAT AFTER ME: ANAPHORA, ANAPHORA, ANAPHORA
      3. IT'S ALL IN THE CONTRAST: ANTITHESIS
      4. JUST TO EXAGGERATE, USE A LITTLE: HYPERBOLE
      5. LET ME PAINT A PICTURE FOR YOU: METAPHOR
      6. SUMMARY
      7. NOTES
  5. CONCLUSION
    1. CHOOSE TO LEAD, THEN SPEAK AS A LEADER
    2. IT'S TIME TO LEAD
    3. NOTES
  6. ABOUT THE AUTHOR
    1. BART EGNAL, PRESIDENT AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, THE HUMPHREY GROUP INC.
  7. INDEX
  8. EULA

Product information

  • Title: Leading Through Language
  • Author(s): Bart Egnal
  • Release date: December 2015
  • Publisher(s): Wiley
  • ISBN: 9781119087717