‘Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.’ 

Mark Twain

It’s a familiar scenario. You’re sitting in a meeting/on a zoom call with a new client. Or maybe even an old client. And you’re being bombarded with industry-specific algorithms and descriptive terms that could be double-dutch. They pepper you with the speed of a paint ball out of a gun. Everyone’s nodding wisely. You don’t have a clue what’s been said. They probably don’t either. It’s even worse if you’re on a zoom call because it can be much harder to hear through the virtual veil. Communication like this is made more difficult today with the rise of text speak – those of us with teenagers are probably at a bit of an advantage – text acronyms add to the mire of miscommunication, especially when they crop up on comms such as email.

But who’s going to speak up and risk making themselves look like a bit of an idiot? You know very well that you’ll be the fall guy if you do – your colleagues will look at you in sympathy for your ignorance, but secretly they’ll be thrilled they now have the insider knowledge and you’ve taken the hit instead of them.

We repeatedly hear that there’s no such thing as a stupid question but the truth it can take a bit of courage to stick your hand up and ask. But you don’t know what you don’t know and in quest of enlightenment, if Google can’t come to your rescue, then actually the foolish thing to do is to stay schtum. You might just learn something that makes the whole conversation suddenly make sense (that’s a bit unlikely I know). At the very least you’ll broaden your own knowledge and be able to bamboozle someone else.

So, when it comes to acronyms and unconscious repetition, Google and the thesaurus can come to our rescue in potentially tricky professional – and personal – situations. What about the use of industry terms or professional phrases that also stump us? At Four, contract management specialists, we’ve added to the tools at your disposal with a Helpful terms page that might be able to elucidate. Once you understand what’s being said, contract management can make a whole lot more sense.

So where should we start? AGI. What is it? Age spelled wrongly? Nope. It’s ‘Artificial general intelligence: the intelligence of a machine that could successfully perform any intellectual task that a human being can.’

Blanket? Something to keep you warm on the sofa? MJ’s youngest? Wrong again. ‘A blanket purchase order is a contractual arrangement between a buyer and a supplier, for the supplier to deliver goods and services to the buyer, at a pre- set price, for a period of time.’

Mad formula? The fine line between the edge of reason and the abyss? Thank goodness for Four – we’ll keep you right.  ‘Mean Absolute Deviation is the average of the absolute value, or the difference between actual values and their average value and is used for the calculation of demand variability.’

You get the picture. We could go on all day. But why not take the time to breeze through our Helpful terms page and improve your contract management understanding and your general knowledge at the same time? (Just think how your pub quiz team will benefit.) And armed with the knowledge that our categorised definitions provide, you can sweep through your contract management negotiations and documents with confidence and ease.

If you genuinely don’t understand, there really is no such thing as a stupid question. But as for a stupid answer – now that’s a whole other subject…

For find out how contract management software can streamline your operations, contact John O’Brien, CEO at Four Business Solutions, global business consultants and software integrators specialising in business process improvement.