Dude — Chill on the Slang, It Is So Not Cool in the Workplace

Today is Thursday, so this post is on dynamic communication.

I’ve sung the praises of Women’s Edge Magazine in this blog on several occasions, the most recent being Monday of this week.  If you missed it, you might want to check out the post I did on Muhammad Ali’s greatest lesson.

The current issue of Women’s Edge has a great article on communication written by Kim Mills and called “Bounce the Slang, Dude.”  Ms. Mills has a great sense of humor.  She begins by saying, “Have you ever heard a conversation but did not understand what was being said?…I’m talking about hearing English that is clearly enunciated yet uses a combination of words that form a sentence that doesn’t make sense”.

She provides the following example…

“That was a hella’ big sale you got dawg!  I bet Shawn’s a hater since h got flossed on the deal.  He should give you big props though ‘cause you’re a player.  That’s OK; you’ll get some mad cheddar for this win and show him who’s da’bomb!”

This translates to something like…

“Congratulations on your big sale.  I bet Shawn is pretty jealous because you got the deal instead of him.  Shawn should show you some respect for what you accomplished, and because you’re good at what you do.  Besides that, you’ll be getting a big commission from this sale, and you’ll probably end up being the top salesperson.”

Granted, the example is a little over the top – but not by much.  Slang is becoming more and more accepted – even though it can create confusion and hamper effective communication.  In yesterday’s post, I used the word “ginormous” – mostly as a joke, and partly because I like the sound of it.  If you don’t have the most recent version of the Merriam-Webster dictionary ginormous is an adjective that means “Bigger than gigantic and bigger than enormous; a colossal combination of the two.”

Ms. Mills says, “Once used primarily in private with close friends and family, slang seeped through these boundaries surfacing in music, films and television.  And with the advent of the internet, wireless phones and instant messaging, a separate language, based almost entirely on slang has emerged.  This ‘slang creep’ continues to flood our environment and now sows up in the workplace impacting our face-to-face communications, letters, e mails and voice messages.”

She argues that using too much slang at work can get you labeled as a person of low intellect, too trendy and unsophisticated.  “Use ‘like,’ ‘dude’ and ‘cool’ a few times during an interview and you’re likely to be deselected for a position.”

I think this is great common sense advice.  Slang can hamper communication – especially between generations.  And, unfortunately, the older generation – baby boomers like me – are still in charge at most workplaces.  So why take a chance?  Save the slang for night’s out with your friends.  Use conventional English at work.

The common sense point here is simple.  Slang is so not cool in the workplace.  I mean, slang is inappropriate for the workplace.  If you use proper English, you will communicate better.  And effective communicators are the people who usually get the promotions and find themselves rising to the top. 

That’s it for today.  Thanks for reading.  Log on to my website www.BudBilanich.com for more common sense and to subscribe to my weekly newsletter “Common Sense.” 

I’ll see you around the web and at Alex’s Lemonade Stand.


PS: Speaking of Alex’s Lemonade Stand, my fundraising page is still open.  Please go to www.FirstGiving.com/TheCommonSenseGuy to read Alex’s inspiring story and to donate if you can.

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