Leading Through Language

Kathleen Ryan O'Connor

Successful leaders don't just communicate to inform; they also communicate to influence and inspire. Business jargon and buzzwords won't cut it. Teams crave clarity of vision, and whether you are heading an organization or a project, you must take a critical look at how your words are crafted and received.

Move the needle. Leverage synergies. Pick the low-hanging fruit. Run it up the flagpole. Business jargon. We all know it. We usually cringe when we hear it. So why is still so commonplace?

The person to ask is Bart Engal, president and CEO of The Humphrey Group, a Toronto-based leadership development firm, and author of "Leading Through Language: Choosing Words That Influence and Inspire” (Wiley Dec. 2015).

Business jargon is everywhere, he says, but that's just one of many ways a lack of focus on communication can make it more difficult to achieve (jargon alert!) buy-in for your projects or to showcase your expertise. Project managers in particular, he says, can benefit tremendously from casting a critical eye on how they communicate.

ProjectsAtWork: First, tell us about your work. Is it mainly consulting?

Bart Engal: We're a pretty unique business. We've done a lot of work with project managers and have a lot of project managers who take our training. People tell us we occupy a fairly unique niche, so I would define us as not so much a …

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"All progress is based upon a universal innate desire on the part of every organism to live beyond its income."

- Samuel Butler

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