Executive's Memo Filled with "Buzzy Techno Jargon"

The Story

A memo intended to explain future plans left people confused.  Employees at publication company Condé Nast criticized the memo: "We all read it and have no idea what he was talking about. It's the kind of communication where there are no verbs and every other word is some kind of buzzy techno jargon." 

Conde Nast CEO
Conde Nast CEO

Discussion Starters

  • What's the irony of a magazine executive's writing a memo like this? How would you expect employees to react?
  • What do you think the memo means?  What are the key points?

Assignment Ideas

  • Townsend's memo includes "three clear priorities": "a consumer-centric business model, a holistic brand management approach and the establishment of a multi-platform, integrated sales and marketing organization."  Judge for yourself: are these clear?  Read the entire memo and rewrite these priorities in clear, simple language. 
  • Identify the number of jargon and buzz words.  Then, compare your assessment to that of the Jargon Grader.  
  • Submit one of your own memos or emails to the Jargon Grader.  How did you do?