Divest the crap: CBI and Porter Novelli call on companies to 'kill business speak'

Companies need to "kill business speak" in order to improve their standing among both employees and the broader public, according to a new report.

The cover of today's CBI report
The cover of today's CBI report

The Everyone's Business report was created by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), PR firm Porter Novelli and research firm Opinium.

Conducted in three phases between March and June, it includes responses from business leaders and members of the public. 

The 2,000 members of the public surveyed said that business leaders should engage more directly with employees and avoid the use of jargon to become less remote and improve perceptions of industry. 

These issues, the report says, present the biggest barriers to businesses achieving better personal interaction with staff and consumers. The use of a "more natural style of language" will bring companies closer to their customers, the report adds.

Porter Novelli UK MD Fenella Grey said: "The way a business talks to employees and customers speaks volumes about their reputation.

"Jargon is alienating. When a company or an executive chooses buzzwords over straight talk, they risk losing respect, trust and, crucially, an opportunity to turn members of the public into supporters."

To promote plain speaking, the CBI has developed a series of tools for its members. These include workshops to help "kill business speak", and the use of a variety of different people from across the business to tell a company's story.

A separate report from the CBI in December found that employee engagement was the biggest workforce priority for UK firms for the coming years.

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