Wednesday, 16 November 2011

German Rock Music and Plain-Speaking HR: Tenuous Links and Self-Indulgence!

Time for a tenuous link or two, plus some shameless self indulgence today.

First, here's the self-indulgent bit. Unless you're German, the chances are that you won't have encountered the German rock band Juli. It's a shame really, as they are equally as good, if not far better than most of the bland processed junk that we are fed in the UK. The same goes for a number of other German rock bands such as Wir Sind Helden and Silbermond.

They are all popular in their native Germany but have had limited success outside their home country, for the simple reason that they only sing in German.

Here's a quick experiment: check out the video of Juli's "Perfekt Welle" on the sidebar on the right. This song got to number two in the German charts and sold a healthy 160,000 copies. Incidentally, the song, which concerns (at first glance) a surfer who is waiting for the Perfect Wave to ride on, was removed from the German radio playlists just after the Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004, when the lyrics were thought to be rather inappropriate.

Go on, give the song a listen.

Done that? Good. OK; now it's time for a question: What would record sales of bands such as Juli be like if the band performed in English, I wonder? Perhaps I'm simply betraying my preference for melodic and intelligent rock, but I'd like to believe that an English-speaking audience would be happy to part company with the odd couple of quid in exchange for the purchase of a CD (do people buy CD's anymore, or am I totally out of touch?) of the band. Put simply, I supect that if the band sang in English, they'd be as popular outside their native Germany as they are within it.

Right. Time for the tenuous link. How much of what we say as HR professionals is expressed in a language that only we understand? Don't we sometimes use terminology that overcomplicates what we're doing, and don't we sometimes do that because underneath it all we realise that our message is very simple, but by using long words it gives us the appearance of being experts in a highly technical field?

Basically if we spoke the language of the masses, wouldn't our message be heard and understood by a wider audience?

So who's with me as a founder member of the Campaign for Plain-Speaking HR?

No comments:

Post a Comment