Mind your language
It’s fair to say that business continuity practitioners inhabit a slightly different world to most ‘normal’ business people. It’s a world of threats and impacts and recovery objectives; of incidents and interruptions, crises and disasters; of backups and restores and contingencies and workarounds; of recovery strategies and teams and plans. And when someone lives somewhere for any length of time, it’s only natural to pick up some of the local lingo. Which is all well and good when we’re talking to other locals who understand it.
But there can be a tendency to assume that the rest of the world speaks the same language. And the fact is that many ‘normal’ business people don’t get particularly excited by business continuity speak. So a better approach might be to avoid it altogether and use language and terminology that the business actually understands.
For instance, if the audience isn’t excited by phrases like business impact analysis or recovery time objective, why not simply talk about what’s critical to the success of their part of the business, what they depend upon to deliver it and how long they could be without it before it really started to hurt? If business continuity doesn’t particularly float their boat you could try not using the two words in the same sentence – or at all for that matter. And as they probably have more than enough acronyms, abbreviations and buzzwords of their own to keep them amused (or confused), they might actually appreciate not hearing any of ours.
At the end of the day, it’s far more important that the people on the receiving end of our attentions understand what we’re on about and buy in to it rather than being precious about our industry jargon, no matter how much we might like to use it.