If you are a lover of the Harry Potter series, you will have heard of parseltongue. The language of serpents. A Parselmouth is anyone able to speak parseltongue.

If you don’t have a clue what I am talking about, you are reading this and feeling at least a little uncomfortable. Relax, it is all make-believe.

However, don’t relax for too long because your influencing skills might be hampered by how you are providing your advice. Why? Because finance, HR, IT, procurement, risk and many other functions have been hijacked by well-meaning technical specialists. So technical, so smart, that they created so many technical requirements, surrounded by technical jargon, that it becomes parseltongue to business leaders. That is, completely indecipherable.

Because of the damage done, many senior leaders desperately avoid conversations with support function technocrats. Despite their advice being sometimes vitally important.

So grab that report or have a think about your last conversation and decide for yourself. Were you speaking in parseltongue or were you speaking in their language?

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