You probably have no idea what the title of this blog post means; that was the intention. Is Your Message Clear? (IYMC) This post is about how the thoughtless use of initialisations can have a negative impact on the impression you are trying to make or the message you are delivering. My post on 21st March was in a similar vein dealing with acronyms, this post focusses on two letter initialisations. Think of it as reinforcement rather than repetition.
There are two recent examples that stand out. The first was during an international Zoom meeting. One of the attendees was referring to the challenges her business had faced at the beginning of coronavirus restrictions imposed in South Africa. She had just said that she was not very PC when her video froze. I was relieved that I was going to escape hearing some blunt inappropriate comments. Political Correctness has a bad reputation; however, I often find that when people say they are not very PC it is an excuse to say unpleasant things. Her video then restarted without any loss of content, so I heard “…literate. I struggled with the move to online meetings and having to get to grips with things like Zoom and Microsoft Teams”. I now felt sympathetic to her situation, picturing her stressed sitting in front of her Personal Computer. Had the video not restarted and we moved on to the next person I may have left that meeting with completely the wrong impression of her.
I could only think of three meanings of PC, the third being Police Constable. I did a little bit of research and was amazed to find there are 325 listed meanings. I should have been able to think of some of those: Parish Council, Privy Council, Public Convenience and Petty Cash.
The second example is from a few hours later during an online networking meeting based in the UK. A new attendee was giving his 1-minute presentation explaining what he did and that he was also setting up another business with a focus on training covering PM …. I have no idea what he said next as I was wondering whether he was going to only do the training in the afternoon or whether he had a different meaning of PM. Through my brain fog I heard him talk about Project Management, could that be what he meant by PM? I missed the rest of the of what he was saying as I was trying to remember if I had ever heard Project Management referred to as PM. I have not, but this sent me off thinking about the project management methodology PRINCE which was wonderfully renamed in a Civil Service acronym competition from PRINCE to PRINCE. I should explain that originally it meant PROMPT II IN the CCTA Environment after the competition it meant PRojects IN Controlled Environments. Civil Servants certainly know how to have fun. By the time I returned my attention back to the meeting he had finished speaking so I missed his message and have no idea what he did. My research discovered that there are 195 different meaning of PM and Project Management was not listed as one of them.
Hopefully, that illustrates the damage that careless use of initialisations can cause. If you want to know what PROMPT and CCTA (used above) stand for use GOOGLE, which is not an acronym. The origin of the name is however interesting.
Finally, a word of warning, do not use initials when talking to a farmer about Artificial Intelligence or a nurse about Public Relations, you may see them reaching for gloves.
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