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I have enjoyed the Engineer for some time now but felt compelled to write after reading James Raby’s article ‘Communicate to Accumulate’


I have enjoyed The Engineer for some time now but felt compelled to write after reading James Raby’s article ‘Communicate to Accumulate’ (Careers Focus, January 28).

The essence of Mr Raby’s article was communication between engineers and management and I have absolutely no problem with that.

What really annoyed me was Mr Raby’s assertion that ‘[engineers) must accept the need to adapt their language to that of their stakeholder be it business or government.’

Oh really? I thought we had a perfectly good communication tool that has served well for decades… plain english.

Mr Raby appears to be yet another of those in business who love to use acronyms and buzzwords.

The greatest offender in my eyes is the government of the day, which just can’t get enough of this pernicious jargon. Where did ‘stakeholders’ come from? What happened to investors or supporters?

Engineers are guilty of it too, and it’s high time both sides came clean and started talking plain english to each other.

Another great source of gobbledegook is found even in your own recruitment pages. Human resources (personnel, surely?) love to dress up their ads, talking of such things as ‘KPIs’ and ‘internal logistics’. I assume they mean targets and stores people.

In order to improve relations between engineers and management, we need a regular dialogue between the two sides. In our company, buzzwords are outlawed and if one has to be used, it is followed by a clear and concise explanation in plain english so that everyone understands what is being discussed.

For Mr Raby to assert that engineers need to learn a new business language is just daft. Why doesn’t he, engineers and the rest of business stop talking pompous nonsense and return to terms we all understand?

In our company management and engineers spend time in each other’s areas of expertise to get a feel for what is going on. That way management discovers the problems engineers are having trying to resolve technical problems, and engineers can understand why their solution is not cost-effective. And with a free flow of plain dialogue, both sides can communicate much more effectively.

Let’s get back to calling a spade a spade and not a ‘pedially assisted, solids transference facilitator.’

I’m off to join the campaign for Plain English.

Fraser Wilson

Engineering manager

MI Cables, Inverness