Two hours in and - at last! - we had a speaker who promised to speak frankly about how his organisation was responding to some difficult times. So there was still a chance that the (high) admittance charge for the event would have been money well spent. And this is what he said:
"Going forward, we will drill down on the issues behind our sub optimal performance. We will solutionise and execute on the remedial actions required and, by architecting our way forward, we’ll achieve our transformational end state."
Or something like that. But why oh why couldn’t he have said: We’re going to work out what we’re doing wrong and then we’ll put things right and get to where we want to be.
Many of us will have experienced people who communicate in acronyms in organisations that encourage their growth. Now I spend time in public meetings with people who speak in a language no one outside of their circle understands. I think we need to breath new life into the Plain English Campaign.
And as if this full-blown attack on the spoken word wasn’t enough, Ben Yagoda declares that a “punctuation paradigm is shifting”. According to Ben in The Rise of Logical Punctuation, the issue at stake is none other than where to put your brackets… Do they come before or after a comma or full-stop?
(Yes, it’s as big an issue as that).
(Or, indeed, as big an issue as this.)
In the US, it seems that for reasons of aesthetics they nestle up on the inside of brackets and, what’s more they’ve been doing this since the early days of the Republic. Well over 200 years have passed since then but, fortunately, it seems that all will be fine soon as the US literary ‘powers that be’ are coming down on the side of the Brits. It might not look right — they say — but there is a certain logic to it to which they feel they must concede…
To my mind[1. Albeit a British one], I think our way is both logical and more aesthetic. A sentence ending with a bracket looks as though it’s dangling in thin air. Brackets need bookends to hold them up. So, if you are public service minded, please, please stick a full-stop after the bracket to save it from falling.
And so, while Britannia rules the waves no more and the Empire has long gone, we can nevertheless hold our heads high because our friends across the water have solutionisedand concluded that Britain still has something to teach the world[2. Even if it's just the English-speaking part of it].
It makes me proud to be British.
Apologies for the moan - I just felt like having a rant and normal service will resume shortly :-)