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    The lighter side of acronyms

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AIDA

Attention, Interest, Desire, Action. If your sales or advertising approach doesn't follow this sequence it won't work. Also extended version AIDCA - the 'C' is for Commitment or Conviction (on the part of the customer). Also known as the Hierarchy of Effects, but HOE doesn't have quite the same ring as AIDA.

AFTO

Ask For The Order. The 'psychological imperative' and the most important rule of selling, despite which, millions of salespeople usually forget it.

AMCABATIS

As Much Chance As Brian Aldridge Taking In Strays. For any hopeless situation. Listeners to BBC Radio 4's 'The Archers' will recognise the reference to the impossible.

APE

Attentive, Peripheral, Empathic. The three main types of listening. Empathic listening is the skill of understanding meaning and motive in another's words, a considerably powerful ability.

BID

Break It Down. When training anything to anybody never teach the whole thing all at once. Break the skill or process down to digestible parts. This will avoid destroying confidence, and enable gradual progress to the point that the whole thing can be practiced.

BOGOFF

Buy One Get One For Free. Marketingspeak, but also great for emphasising the need for creative thinking to achieve cost-effective, high perceived value promotional selling.

BUNDY

But Unfortunately Not Dead Yet. Nurses' and doctors receptionists' shorthand, but has many other applications elsewhere.

CUOA

Compulsive Use Of Acronyms. Not guilty....... There is the true story of the meeting that took place in a particular government office to discuss the effects of EMU. Some considerable time into the meeting it was discovered that half of the participants thought they were there to discuss the European Monetary Union, while the other half were thinking about Environmental Monitoring and Utilisation. (With thanks to Kevin Thomas.)

DAGMAR

Defining Advertising Goals for Measured Advertising Results. The principle that the effectiveness of advertising can only be measured if the aims of the advertising are clearly specified before it takes place.

DILLIGAFF

Do I Look Like I Give A Flying Fig? (Polite version. For when you're totally unconcerned at someone else's predicament (someone wants a cigarette break, or is late for your presentation). Also great for illustrating the 'apathetic worker' syndrome. Eg 'We have fifteen engineers, but fourteen of them are DILLIGAFFs.' (Acknowledgements to Dr Neale Roney.)

DIN

Do It Now. See JFDI.... For procrastinators everywhere. 'We all know what happens to people who stay in the middle of the road. They get run over'. (Aneurin Bevan)

DOGDWEG

Dreaming Of Getting Drunk With Eddie Grundy. Descriptive and derisory term for daydreamers everywhere, particularly during the seminar graveyard session after lunch, whether they listen to 'The Archers' or not. Also for those intent on an early finish on Friday afternoon, last day of a week-long residential training course.

EPACA

Evaluate, Plan, Action, Check, Amend. And so on.... The helix of never ending improvement.

FAB

Features, Advantages, Benefits. Steps along the way to empathic selling. Don't talk about what your product is, say what it will do for your listener.

FEAR

Frig Everything And Run. Polite version. One of the best reverse acronyms ever invented. It's what happens when the fear response takes over, and the primitive brain switches to auto-pilot. Great for management training and 'train the trainer', to emphasise why nobody ever does anything really well when under extreme stress.

FIDO

Forget It and Drive On. Dwelling on past disappointments or seeking revenge is self-destructive; better to concentrate effort on the next challenge.

FIFO

First In First Out. Originally an accounting term, to provide a convention for writing down the balance sheet value of assets of the same type. Apply it to any situation where the oldest go first and the newest stay longest; rather like the HR policies of many large organisations...

FLK

Funny Looking Kid. (ODSA). If you must make discriminatory remarks on job application forms this may help you to avoid legal action for discrimination against the aesthetically challenged.

FMCG

Fast Moving Consumer Goods. Nothing to do with skills development, just an acronym that lots of people have heard and don't know what it means.

FUBB

Fouled Up Beyond Belief. The polite version of an old acronym that is just as useful today as when first devised.

GROLIES

Guardian Reader Of Limited Intelligence, Ethnic Skirt. (ODSA) See FLK. Use with care if you must use is at all, and whilst not necessarily recommended, there is a potential application for explaining the more technical aspects of customer profiling.

HIVI

Husband Is Village Idiot. Classic nurses' shorthand.

IBM

I Blame Microsoft. Specially for those who find it difficult to accept responsibility for their own actions, or more usually, inactivity. (Acknowledgements to Dr Neale Roney.)

IMCIS

Identify, Manage, Change, Improve, Show. The basis of the Japanese approach to TQM, as in: Identify customer-supplier relationships, Manage processes, Change culture, Improve communications, Show commitment. (Acknowledgements to John Oakland.)

JFDI

Just Frigging Do It. Polite version. Pronounced 'Jifdi', this should surely be every procrastinator's motto. A must for management training.

KISS

Keep It Simple Stupid. Apply to any situation to deter unnecessary complication (See also 'JFDI').

MEGO

My Eyes Glazed Over. Watch for this sign from your audience at your next presentation. If spotted you could need more acronyms...

NB

No Bullshit. Forget the boring Latin version, this is what it really means.

NFL

Normal For Londoners. (ODSA). Terrifically versatile put-down for any grouping you wish, in that the third word can be anything you need it to be. Beware potential discrimination litigation hazards, ie nationalities are not recommended for third words. Ideal applications, particularly for in-company interdepartmental rivalries, third word options: management, marketing, engineers, salesmen, solicitors, packers, telephonists, secretaries, etc.

OAP

Over Anxious Person. (ODSA) Original doctors' shorthand seen on prescription notes, but applicable far more widely.

ODSA

Original Doctors' Shorthand Acronym. There are lots of them, first used by GP's and consultants on prescriptions to make secret coded comments about the patient. These wonderful acronyms are now available for us all to use and enjoy, as most of them are applicable far beyond the medical world. 'ODSA's are marked as such throughout the Archive. (With acknowledgements to Dr Phil Hammond.)

OSINTOT

Oh Shit I Never Thought Of That. Great for project management.

PPPP or The Four P's

Product, Price, Promotion, Place. The essential ingredients of the marketing mix, and the start of 75% of all marketing presentations.

PRIC

Problem, Rectification, Investigation, Correction. Known as the corrective action loop. The essential four stages for good customer service and delegating responsibility for quality of service. The main point is that rectifying the problem is only half the story; you need to ensure there is no re-occurrence.

SHIT

Simply Hack It Together. (Desperate Project management speak)

SMART

Specific, Measurable, Agreed, Realistic, Time-bound. If you're setting an objective it must meet these criteria or you'll have problems.

SNAFU

Situation Normal - All Fouled Up. Polite version, dating from the second world war, when widely used by the Americans forces. Remains one of the best succinct descriptions by the front line staff of an incompetent management.

SPC

Statistical Process Control. Forerunning quality theory from the 1960's to TQC and TQM.

SPIN

Situation, Problem, Implication, Need. One of the great selling acronyms. If you work with a prospective customer through this process you'll never need to close again...

STM

Skill, Task, Measure. The classic process for developing skills in people: identify the Skill, agree a Task for the trainee to perform that will involve using the skill, and then Measure the performance, ie the trainee's command of the skill.

TEETH

Tried Everything Else?..Try Homeopathy. Another ODSA, but perfectly admissible outside the medical arena, such as counselling or stress training. Also good for sales and marketing campaigns that never seem to work.

TATT

Tired All The Time. (ODSA). Great for dead products, over-used ideas, lazy employees, old dogmas and philosophies, the list goes on....

TANSTAAFL

There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch. For anyone with their head in the clouds.

TQC

Total Quality Control. Forerunning theory from the 1970's to TQM, and successor to SPC.

TQM

Total Quality Management. A little known fact is that the two American gurus, Juran and Edwards-Deming, taught the Japanese all they know about Total Quality Management in the 1950's. To the Japanese, they are both still revered as industrial icons. Most people believe that the theory, if not all the products, was home-grown in Japan. Not so.

TRIP

Transaction, Relationship, Information, Partnership. The sequential development of a successful customer-supplier co-operation.

TTS and CCC

Teams, Tools, Systems and Culture, Communication, Commitment. The hard and soft elements of the Total Quality Management model. Every quality company has these things in place.

USP

Unique Selling Point or Proposition. You can't be very successful in any business unless you're doing something that nobody else is doing. And you have to tell people about what it is.

WIIFM

What's In It For Me? The acid test of successful communications. If there's nothing in it for your audience they may hear but won't really listen, and they'll never commit to action.

WYSIWYG

What You See Is What You Get. If you've accessed this Archive via the Internet you'll probably know this one already, as WYSIWYG is now common computer jargon, although not always true. Nevertheless, this famous acronym has applications just about everywhere.

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