What? You don’t understand my title? How could you not know PSUA!?!
Please Stop Using Acronyms
I find it amazing that in a society that discusses communication as a primary and essential skill, we use confusing acronyms ALL of the time.
Just look at facebook currently…there are people in this world whose status updates read: “OMG, B2B world is hard AF. LMAO at the FYI from my BFF. Thanks YOLO!”
I’d like to say the business world is better, but sadly no. This is not limited to the communication style of social media.
In fact, the business world is probably worse.
I was new to a company and had my first meeting during my first week…half way through the meeting, I was 100% lost in the world of proprietary acronyms. At the lunch break, I asked if a list of the acronyms existed so I could follow…
Yup…it did…a 6 page, 3 column per page, list was handed to me!!
This situation deserves a well-known acronym, WTF.
When Communication is Essential, How Can This BE?!
Take a moment, and think about how many acronyms you use on a daily basis, and how many are unique to your company?
Now, when you are onboarding and training, or even communicating with clients, how much time do you reasonably want to be teaching acronyms vs. having a clear conversation?
So let me be perfectly clear here:
- Acronyms are often not that clever: “tl;dr”…ready? Too Long; Didn’t Read! You may as well say, “Lazy AF.” It’s at least a better acronym.
- Acronyms beyond universal standards ASAP, TBA, NA…don’t actually save you much time. Even “As Soon As Possible” is 1.4 seconds to speak. “ASAP” 1.3 seconds to speak.
- Acronyms create confusion and cause conversational flow to melt down with constant definitions:
Now, I’m not against universal acronyms. These are great. They even sometimes break down language barriers.
Did you know SVP is French? We all know it’s please, but it is from S’il Vous plait.
NA is another great one; standard on forms, applications, and other written documents. It’s much better than leaving something blank and actually prevents confusion.
So Where is the Line?
Like all language, the line is always shifting based on usage popularity. Here are some guidelines to help you maintain some self-control in your acronym addiction:
- Printed Answer Key: If your company requires a reference manual for your acronyms, you’ve gone too far.
- Struggles to Make Sense: If your acronym actually makes no sense, you’ve again gone too far.
- Multiple Meanings: The phrase, “don’t reinvent the wheel” doesn’t work for acronyms.
- Hard to Identity: If you can’t even tell if you are looking at an acronym, you’ve gone too far again.
So Please, keep communication a top priority! Your new hires and clients alike will thank you.