Shorthand and Code Words

by Frank Roche on May 13, 2011

in Business Slang, Communication

“Should we have an Ecaterina?” I said.

“Sure, what do you want on it?” Sheryl said.

In my house, “Ecatarina” is pizza. How we got there goes like this: I liked the Romanian gymnast Ecatarina Szabo in the 1984 Olympics. Since in Chicago, nearly everyone called pizza, “za,” I started calling it Ecatarina Szabo. For a while I called it Szabo…then I started calling it Ecatarina.

Fast forward a couple of decades and not much has changed. When I say, “Should we have an Ecatarina?” everyone in my house knows I’m talking about pizza. But outsiders would think I’m crazy. Or at least doing some crazy talk.

Shorthand and code words bind people together. When you’re in a family — or a company — you learn the rhythm and pace of the language. And you use it. It shows you’re part of the club.

If you’re in the HR communication business, you need to pay attention to those words. And use them correctly. After all, we wouldn’t want a Romanian gymnast delivered to our house covered in cheese, olives, onions and bacon. (Don’t go there.) I would just want a pizza with those ingredients on it.

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