I'm as guilty as anyone else working in my field of using wanky words when telling it like it is might have made life easier for everyone. To be fair to myself, in general I think I'm pretty good at holding back on the Birtspeak. I may talk a lot of nonsense, but I do so in plain English. Looking around at the language being used by some of my contemporaries I can't help wonder what planet they think we're on. The language confuses me and I'm a native. Allegedly.
There's no doubt as to why they do this though. It's called the Dr Fox Effect. It's nothing to do with a terrible DJ also know for talking a lot of nonsense, but a reference to an experiment carried out in 1976 aimed at testing teacher effectiveness.
The experimenters produced a lecture on 'Mathematical Game Theory as Applied to Physician Education,' given by Dr. Myron L. Fox from the Albert Einstein School of Medicine to a collection of physchologists at a conference in Tahoe. The thing is neither Dr. Fox or the Albert Einstein School of Medicine existed. They were part of a simple hoax.
A relatively famous actor was coached to deliver a completely meaningless lecture with an excessive use of 'double talk, neologisms, non sequiturs, and contradictory statements.' He was also encourage to adopt a 'lively demeanor, convey warmth toward his audience, and intersperse his nonsensical comments with humour'.
The result was amazing. The fifty-five psychiatrists, psychologists, educators, graduate students, and other professionals gave incredibly positive feedback. Fox’s nonverbal behaviours coupled with enough jargon to sell snow to Eskimos completely disguised what was a totally meaningless lecture.
Comments within the feedback suggested the lecture had 'given them food for thought', that 'Fox had presented the material in a clear manner' and 'put it across in an interesting way and incorporated plenty of good illustrative examples'.
So it seems style over substance and a healthy dose of jargon does have a placebo like impact when it comes to delivering presentations and lectures. The more nonsense you talk, the jargon you deliver, the confidence in your delivery, the bigger the impact. Music to the ears of a thousand social media consultants no doubt, though I think I'll be sticking to my own limited vocabulary.