Mythbuster: Cut back the shorthand

Les Binet and Sarah Carter

Les Binet and Sarah Carter get a little bit angry about some of the nonsense they hear around them... like the proliferation of TLAs.

Last week, we were sent a presentation from a client to update us on his sales performance. We started going through the charts, but by page 4 we had to give up. The graphs were all very easy to understand. The titles though were not. By chart 4, helpfully titled 'P4W Drinkers ROI other LAD', we had no idea what was being shown.

Grrrr... So this month's column is devoted to EUA (excessive use of acronyms) in business communication. Using abbreviations in business is nothing new. But it does feel to us like it is getting out of hand. A simple query round the office for corroborating evidence unleashed a torrent of examples and despairing pleas for EUA to be wrestled back under control. Among prized examples like SLF ('Self Loading Freight', which is what one train operator calls its passengers), we came across BM (used intriguingly by the same company for both Brand Manager and Bowel Movement) and even one client who had issued a helpful glossary of abbreviations to its agencies which ran to 13 pages and over 200 examples.