Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Rule 52: Speak the language

By on 10:30
Share this Post Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Email This Pin This

Famous Lagos-Nigeria Clothier, Alero Idowu of Hallero  Courture

Fitting in means being able to follow the corporate culture, and speaking the language is a big part of this.  You can give the game away by not using the right jargon, or using computer-speak at the wrong time.
If they all use geeky language, then you too must use it.  No, this isn’t the time or place to discuss whether you want to belong to a geeky company – that’s for you to do alone in the soul searching time of the early hours when you can’t sleep.

If the boss talks in terms of SPRs for staff/product/ratios then you too must talk of SPRs.  It isn’t your job to educate them, re-educate them, edify them, inform them, teach them, give them a bit of class, drag them up, stop the dumbing down process or instruct them.  Their corporate language is what you must speak.  I know there will be times when it will make you want to scream – but speak it you must.

I once worked for an Italian boss who, because of his inadequate grasp of English had taken to talking of clienters’, which was his sort of mix of clients and customers.  Because he was the boss, this ridiculous term had entered public domain and every member of staff from the general manager down talked about the clienters.  I could have stood there and screamed ‘No, no, no, this is wrong, stop it at once’.  Fat lot of good it would have done me.  It was clienters the whole time I was there and I hated it every time I heard it.  But I knew the rules and also called them clienters.


Spend a little time listening to how your office uses language. Do they speak the Queen’s English or a curious local variation?  We’re not talking accents here, but the sort of individual clienters that every office somehow manages to pick up.  I also worked with an American who talked of people working as hard as Mexicans. This was his way of being, what he thought, politically correct.  It was, of course, just as bad, just as wrong, just as offensive.  However, he was the owner of the company so the term ‘Mexicans’ had stuck and again it was wrong and horrible, but it was in current usage.

The only time this rule should be broken is where it applies to swearing. The Rules say no swearing, but if the corporate culture is that everyone swears what are you to do?  Answer: not swear.  Rule 37 over-rules Rule 51 in this case – you’ve been trumped.

(Excerpts from THE RULES OF WORK by Richard Templer Read “How to decode the dress code of your industry” from The Rules tomorrow on Asabeafrika)

Rule-to-Work Series
Caveat: We are not the Best Door Making Expert but when it comes to Anti-Bullet Security Door technology we have testimonials". 
Call our hotline 080-306-25-522 and find out

Gbenga Dan Asabe

Africa's Number One Celebrity Encounter Blog


Post a Comment