“Management is proving beyond a shadow of a doubt they don’t have enough to do,” she murmured back. “So they’ve invented a new acronym.”
~ Connie Willis ~
We think acronyms make things easier, turning words into initials. I believe they make it easier for people to be confused or not have a clue on what you are saying. The person listening has to decipher the acronym and can miss your point because their mind is busy on your alphabetical puzzle. When your ID is NIGO, DNA is needed ASAP by the PD. Made you think didn’t I, and some of you did not figure it out.
They are also used to create power for people and organizations by excluding those who do not know what the letters stand for. Think of them like the legalese of attorneys. They are used to make it seem like the one using them is an expert or has credibility. Think about how often they are used in institutions and government. Sometimes they make it even more difficult by adding numbers. Do you have an IRA, 401k, 403b, 457, TSA, SEP or SIMPLE?
Professionally, I avoid acronyms as much as possible. My clients need to know what I am talking about and why it is important to them. If I talk over their heads by using jargon or acronyms, the decisions made will be mine rather than theirs. I want my clients making informed decisions so they take ownership of the blame or acclaim.
The selected place where I like acronyms is on the computer, because I don’t have to type so much to get to a website. Both PETA and the NRA like me to be able to find their sites easily.
As a leadership trainer, I point it out when my students are using acronyms. They usually don’t even know that they are and seldom consider the effect it can have on their performance. Think about calling every person by their initials rather than their name. Unless the person is a former President of the United States I would not recommend it, and then only for selected Presidents.