Put me in, Coach! I speak English.
A little ad in the back of The Economist caught my eye, so I went and checked out MyKnowledgeCoach,which is really not so much what I'd call a knowledge coach and more what I'd call a help-someone-who-doesn't-speak-perfect-English-coach.
What this outfit does is help "foreigners" run through their PowerPoint presos, sales pitches, marketing collateral, business plans, etc. with someone who is both fluent in English and knowledgeable about business.
MyKnowledgeCoach supports the needs of the international business person who wants to do business in English. We help you improve your material, communicate more clearly, and clarify your business goals. By working with a world-class business coach, your content, sales, and marketing will be sharper, and your success will be closer at hand.
Articulate your business in English.
I think that this is a great idea, and I wish I'd thought of it. Not that 100% perfect idiomatic English is likely to make or break most pitches, but obviously anyone would want to put their thoughts in front of potential customers in the most straightforward, clearly articulated way they can.
But I think they're missing a big part of their potential audience - all those native-English speakers who are completely muddled and befuddled in their communications.
I'd like to be a knowledge coach to every person on the face of the corporate earth who started a memo with the words "as per". There are few terms I've have loathed more, few that I have cast more aspersions on, than "as per."
"As per", I am pleased to note, does not seem to be as widely used in e-mails as it was in paper memoranda. One more reason to go paperless.
But "as per" cannot hold a rhetorical candle to some of the howlers I've read, seen, heard over the years.
I once sat through a presentation in which one of the executives exhorted us to "move head with all the momentum of an entrenched juggernaut." Use of the term juggernaut aside (I mean, deathwagon as a business term?), just how much momentum does something entrenched have?
An advertising agency once suggested that my company use the tagline "the final solution" for a new offering. (Sorry, but that one's been done.)
Then there was the colleague who wrote about the "incarceration of our product". I think he meant incarnation, but couldn't be 100% sure.
How about the fellow who publicly thanked me for being his "wetnurse" after I helped him out with a presentation. Wetnurse? Wetnurse?????? I do not to imagine what he might have been thinking, but I did suggest that the word he was looking for was nursemaid.
Not that I'm immune to the spoken and the written error. I'm sure that my communications - especially my blog posts - are riddled with them. But if everyone could use a proofing coach on occasion, some people would profit from having one all the time - whether they grew up speaking Mandarin, Farsi, or good old American English.