from the Fake-Your-Way-To-The-Top dept.
Businessweek brings us news of How to Get Ahead by Speaking Vaguely. Projecting power is incredibly simple: just communicate in abstractions. Details convey weakness.
In one of the seven experiments, participants read quotes from a politician who described an earthquake as killing 120 and injuring 400; later, when he simply said it was a national tragedy, subjects thought he was a better leader.
An author of the study, Cheryl J. Wakslak (University of Southern California), cautions however against meaningless business jargon — words such as "ideaate" and "deliverables" that some workers resort to when trying to seem impressive. "Being completely vague will just make you sound stupid," she explains. "Bulls———is best when it has a kernel of truth in it."
The report was published this month in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology and the full report is available at Using Abstract Language Signals Power (pdf)