Rabobank CEO Wiebe Draijer replied in an interview in NRC Handelsblad to comments made in an article by a columnist targeting the use of corporate jargon in Dutch companies.

The journalist view:

  • Jargon creates a distance between senior management and the rest of the organisation

  • Jargon creates a distance between the bank and its customers

The CEO view:

  • Frequent meetings in English at a Dutch company creates a “language soup” that can come across a bit strange to outsiders

  • Certain words have become efficient and convenient shortcuts for a big project, initiative, philosophy, strategy and summarise months of work and discussions in 4 letters.

I think both have a point: efficient meetings full of shortcuts are better long and slow discussions where everyone is looking for the right words. Still, you should watch out when external audiences are involved: especially large gatherings of people and written material that can end up on anyone’s desk (including presentations).

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