Make yourself plain, business chiefs urged

A leading hotel chain today launched a campaign to persuade businessmen and women to cut back on corporate jargon after a study found many people were turned off by phrases such as "thinking out of the box".

Holiday Inn said more than a third of 1,000 adults it surveyed admitted they lost focus in business meetings after just 20 minutes, often because of "jargon overload".

Half of those questioned said colleagues only used business jargon to appear more intelligent and a similar number confessed they found it hard to follow what was being said in meetings.

The worst phrases included "touch base", "blue sky thinking", "incentivise" and "synergy".

Holiday Inn said there were much better alternatives available, such as "make contact", "limitless thinking", "encourage" and "working together".

Florence Eavis, from Holiday Inn, said: "We believe getting rid of pointless jargon will help people concentrate for longer in meetings, which is why we're asking our guests to be themselves and speak in plain English."