Jargon jettisoned: Confessions of a recovering ‘idiot’

How a PR pro relearned English and forged a new path.

How a PR pro relearned English and forged a new path

The authors are Brian Fugere, Chelsea Hardaway and Jon Warshawsky. I need to tell them that I bring their book to most of my training sessions and promote it as “required reading” for corporate spokespeople.

I’d also like to tell them that their book led to the end of my cushy, six-figure job.

I had been working for a tech-focused PR agency for seven years when my manager gave me “Why Business People Speak Like Idiots.” I was running the communication training department, and my boss thought the book would give me good fodder when training executives. The problem was, the more I read, the more I realized that I had become one of the idiots.

Before I joined the agency, I was an effective communicator—“good with the words,” as my husband likes to say. I was a TV reporter, so stories were distilled to reach the broadest audience. But after seven years in the bowels of tech PR, I had learned to talk like this:

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