Thursday, August 2, 2012

Acronym Pet Peeve

I just got an e-mail proudly touting someone's promotion to NAM.

Good for them.  What the heck is a NAM?

I hate it when people assume everyone else knows what their acronyms mean.  A former General Manger (GM) peppered his meetings with acronyms without ever explaining them.

In writing, it is considered proper form to give the definition of an acronym the first time you use it.  I wish people applied that policy in their speaking.

At minimum, add it to your Power Point slide so I can read it myself.

To the GM (previously defined), AOP meant Annual Operating Plan.  But to the software developers he was addressing, AOP meant Aspect-oriented programming.  At, there are 62 different definitions of AOP.

Granted, context and environment can often help your listener derive the definition you intend.  But while they are pondering what you meant by the acronym, they are missing what you said next.  It is much more productive to just explain yourself.

Texters aren't exempt from needing to understand their audience.  While LOL is widely considered to mean "Laugh out loud", the person reading the text may interpret it differently.  Your context can be misconstrued if to them LOL means "Little Old Lady", "Loss of Life", or " Length of Lease".

Be Kind.  Remind.

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