Tuesday, February 21, 2006

TLA - The mother of all three letter acronymns

Whats the POA ? I dont know, maybe GPD ? Not today man, its the MOW. HBE is a right thing to do. That way we will be RTG for tomorrows meeting.

Wondering whats happening ? welcome to the world of TLA (Three letter Acronymns). We use it so often in our work places it almost sounds cool. It is said that TLAs constitute 20% of inter-office corporate communications in.

Now look at the opening statements with the following information:

POA-Plan of action
GPD-Get piss drunk
MOW-Middle of the week
HBE-Hit bed early
RTG-Rearing to go

These TLAs were originally discovered to ease written comunication, monotony and a quick way to get to know whats happening between two people. A kind of shortcuts. They have grown so much that all seeminglt complicated phrases have their own shortcut. When you overdo it or do it without realising that many wouldnt know it, it can backfire tremendously. Any finance guy would know terms like ROI, a economist would know GDP and so would an architect FPR. But you mix up the group you got a real quizzing game happening.

observation: No one really likes to admit they dont know what a particular three letter acronymm actually means. To his frustration it is like a guessing game where his mind is trying to fill in the blanks by the general context of what is being discussed. If he guesses it quickly, there is a sense of elation in mind and hey you can bet that it would be tested out once in a conversation. Nonchallently using it just to see if it fits in "So are we going to track TOT this month too ?", just to see if his guess of TOT - turn around time is correct and to tell people at large, "hey I know it ok..."

Many times, people dont guess it atall. They ask, often slyly and after the meeting is over to a trusted friend. "ughh What is ROCE ?....., oh ok" with a sheepish grin barely conceling the embaressment. Now he feels part of the club and can play the dance to the select few and the ignorant masses. "So what is the POA?".

Some like shankar get real irritated at the lack of sensitivity and utter snobbishness of the user. Shankar says, "Generally if I find myself in a situation where someone uses a three letter acronymm without caring to understand that there are others who dont know it, it means that guy could be on a power trip. Trying to show off that he knows something and making it look as if those who dont know somehow dont belong. I just say oh another TLA... putting him on the defensive.
If he asks me what is a TLA ? the response would be its a three letter acronymm... sending him further on an endless loop".

There are 2 TLAs which have sticked in my mind. Without going much into it, I would let you make whatever sense you can.

PYB- Pick your battles
EIN - Everything is negotiable.

TLAs are usefull communication tool, but only if you know when and how to use it. The general advise is use it first in a written mode among your chosen group but the first occurance of the acronymn provide for an expansion, so that people who dont know have a reference.

There is one mighty benifit in using TLAs. Afterall you cant make a spelling mistake in a TLA can you ?


At 11:13 PM, Blogger twip said...

I think after GPD (getting piss drunk) last weekend, I think I better HBE all this week! God I sound lame! I hate TLA's!.....:):):)

At 3:19 AM, Blogger Deepti Ravi said...

Many times, people dont guess it atall. They ask, often SHEEPISHLY and after the meeting is over to a trusted friend. "ughh What is ROCE

ha!!ha!! I think I most definitely belong to that category!! Guilty before being charged!! ; )

At 8:59 AM, Blogger vevck said...

Initally when I joined the industry, I didn't know what TLA really was, but then got used to them. Now I am very comfortable with some of the TLAs, here are some TLAs which I use very often POA, MOM, BTW, FYI, ASAP(Not exactly a TLA).

At 3:44 AM, Blogger Neets said...


At 4:59 AM, Blogger Usha said...

Nice Tea yell yays. Enjoyed this.oyt

At 5:00 AM, Blogger Usha said...

I don't know how that TLA - OYT god added to the comment. I meant to say "Nice Post"


Post a Comment

<< Home