Whether it is a genuine interest in the subject matter or your alert profanity filter that brought you here, I invite you to share my thoughts on Three Letter Acronyms (TLA’s).


On my first day as a student nurse actually on the ward rather than in a classroom, I was about to be briefed on the state of play with the twenty-four patients on the ward. I sat with my note pad ready to write down all of the important information about the people I would be looking after. A senior nurse started the handover and I listened to what they had to say.


“Bed one, Mrs Maynard, had a CVA with a left hemi. She’s NBM and on a drip. She has a GCS of 13 and will need an NG Tube if she does’t improve today. The physio and OT will be in later to assess her swallowing. She’s on hourly obs, GCS and fluid balance.”


As I sat looking at the notes I had taken, and my understanding of them, I knew that I was going to be in for a long shift!


All I understood from this was that Mrs Maynard was on a drip, the physio and someone else were going to visit later, and three things needed doing hourly. I knew I was clueless, but hoped that the situation would improve.


“Bed two, Mr Smith, had an MI. His CK’s are through the roof and he’s on a GTN pump. He hasn’t had any pain today but his ECG shows VT and ST Elevation so he’s bed-bound. He’s on hourly obs and BM’s, and the doctor will be in later to review his bloods.”


It didn’t get any better for the next twenty-two patients. It was a harsh induction into nursing gobbledegook.


How many acronyms do you use to explain what you do?


Making things simple for everyone means that if a ten year old cannot understand what you do, you are probably using too many acronyms or being too generic.


When I run my pitch training day’s it is all too frequent that people are positioning their pitch to industry experts, when often their clients have no expertise or understanding of the industry vernacular or common acronyms touted around in your sector.


I remember in one of my first networking meetings following me leaving nursing.


One chap told me that he was a PR expert. In nursing vernacular that meant that he was an expert in inserting things rectally! This was not, of course, what he meant but I did struggle to take the rest of the conversation seriously after that.


By the time I left nursing I had become good at simplifying medical gobbledegook in ways that my patients and their relatives could understand. To a relative I would now explain that Mrs Maynard came in after a stroke, has a left-sided weakness, was a little confused and disorientated and may need a tube to feed her later if she was still not able to swallow.


Are you positioning yourself, your company or your product in a clear way that your customers understand?


If not, I run sessions to help you which are fun and interactive. Whether you are looking to position your company or product more clearly, or raise finance for your business, you need to clean up your pitch, explain your acronyms, and make your language a bit more universal.


Three Letter Acronyms: Words Transform Fortunes!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *