Are you speaking vendor-ese?

The reason I bring this up is from a couple recent experiences with vendors who think they are talking to me, and the reality is I have no idea what they are saying.   Well I do hear the words, but comprehension is low.   I call this vendor-ese where the person I am talking to is using vocabulary that is “internal” to them, but clueless for me.

And being a marketing person, we’ve all done this to our clients too.  And it’s not nice.  So, in making light of it, here are 6 ways to recognize when you are speaking Vendor-ese:

1.  As you are talking, people tilt their head ever so slightly when using nomenclature that comes from inside your company.  Think of how a dog tilts its head when they knows they should be listening, knows it’s really important, but still can’t figure out what you are really saying.

2.  People say to you more than once “Well can you explain that again” or “and what that means”.

3.  You say Tomahto, I say Tomayto.  Please do not assume that you know what my definition of your services are and what it includes.  It usually is not a match, and would bet that you thoughts are ten steps ahead of what I should know.

4.  Alot of head shaking but not alot of conversation.  They’re not getting it and wish you would just go away.

5.  Find yourself using phrases like “it’s on the critical path”, “that’s the code name for XXX project”, or “that’s how we define” some other inane internal phrase or process that I need to live and breathe to understand.

6.   Eyes glaze over because your language is littered with gobbledy-gook so the person is at first impressed and then annoyed, then confused.  Take it down a notch, and just talk normally – like over a coffee or at the dinner table.  If your family understands, there’s a good chance I will.

The problem with vendor-ese is that it leaves the customer swimming on their own to figure it out.  Leaving customers to figure stuff out invites  misunderstandings that could result in attrition.  It would like giving my 12 year old a credit card, and telling him that he can only use it for emergencies.  Well, how do you define emergency? In his mind, it’s an emergency that he doesn’t have Guitar Hero World Tour…

So what about you, have you ever heard a vendor-ease dialect come your way?

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