100+ useful acronyms that teach us (about writing, creativity and problem solving, self improvement, communication, and more)

Posted on November 1, 2016 By pramitsingh Topic: Remarkable, Acronym

This compilation is from The Success Manual, the popular compilation of advice on 25 essential business skills and career skills. You can also download an updated list of these popular acronyms as a free pdf guide.

 

Not all acronyms are bad. Here's a nifty set of 100+ acronyms arranged across 10+ categories: Selling, Creativity, Self Improvement, Writing (our favorite), and others.


Selling and Negotiation:

SELL
Show, Explain, Lead to benefits, Let them talk

ABC
Always Be Closing.

The need to be continually moving the customer towards action and agreement within sales discussions

AIDA
Attention, Interest, Desire, Action

This is the basis of all business-advertising.

ADAPT
Assessment, Discovery, Activation, Projection, Transition

CHaR
Confusion, Humor and Request

FAB
Features, Attributes (or Advantages), Benefits

LAIR
Listen, Acknowledge, Identify objection, Reverse it

LOCATE
Listen, Observe, Combine, Ask, Talk, Empathize

SONTTAP
Say Only Nice Things To All People.

SPIN
Situation, Problem, Implication, Need-Payoff

One of the most enduring selling acronyms.

BATNA
Used often during negotiations:

Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement

Communication:

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.

ALF
Always Listen First.
Obviously great for communication training sessions generally, also counseling, customer service, selling, etc, and relationships overall.

EPRODUCTION
For asking great questions:

Emphatic
Probing
Rhetorical
Open-ended
Declarative
Unuttered
Close
Tag
Imaginative
One
Negative

CHOD
Excuses that you use:
Culture
Hobby
Others consideration
Different

HAPINYS
Different ways to say “No”:
Health
Another person
Pauses or non verbal signals
If statements
No
Yes
Save it for later

BEDROL
A method to resolve conflict:

Back Up Plan.
Emotional Control
Defusing their anger
Reframing position into interests
Options
Letting them choose their fate

HABIT
Technique for responding to complaints:
Humor
Ask a question
Be silent
Involve others
Take time

IMHO
In My Humble Opinion. Often used in web-messaging, emails and texting. Also a reminder to be humble in all communications.

LEAR
This is useful for customer service and other problem-solving communications.

Listen, Empathies, Ask (:ask open questions - what, how, etc), Resolve (Consider the value of the customer and not the cost of resolving this particular issue)

LEDO
Listen, Empathize, De-personalize, Offer.

Used for customer service, conciliation or conflict resolution: listen to the complaint, empathize with the customer, de-personalize the situation (both of you stand back and look at it objectively), and then offer a solution.

TED
Tell me, Explain to me, Describe to me…

Open questions typically begin with what, how, which, when, who, why.

Closed questions, which generally prompt yes or no answers, typically begin with phrases such as: Is it..?, Do you..?, Have you..?, Are they..?, etc., and are used for filtering (determining the relevance or usefulness of data).and for closing (for example, 'Would you like to go ahead...?') and for gaining commitment ('Do you the xyz aspect...?') and for clarification ('Do you mean in the next week or the next month...?).

WIIFM
What's In It For Me?

The essential element of all successful communications and organizational initiatives, and the principle of persuasion and influence. If there's nothing in it for the other person, they may hear but they won't really listen, and without the WIIFM factor they'll never commit to action.

Project Management:

BHAG
Big Hairy-Assed Goal

SWAG
Sophisticated Wild Ass Guess

ADDIE
A very popular project management methodology:

Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, Evaluation

BEER
Behavior, Effect, Expectation, Results

It helps you assess performance of anything, particularly a new initiative.

BENDWIMP
Beliefs, Evidence, Needs, Desires, Wounds, Interests, Mentors, Proud of

A model, typically used as a table or template or matrix for identifying motivations and issues of stakeholders within a project plan.

BOSCARDET
Background, Objectives, Scope, Constraints, Assumptions, Reporting, Dependencies, Estimates, Timescales

Very useful acronym for inception of projects, committees, investigations (inquiries), studies, reports, etc, where purpose, parameters and ground-rules etc., have to be established.

Teaching and Training:

TEACH
Trust
Empowerment
Appreciation
Communication
Humor

DUMBER
The problem with most learning:

Dull, Unrealistic, Mediocre, Boring, Evaporating, Rote

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.

EDIP
Explain, Demonstrate, Imitate, Practice.
A simple teaching and learning model.

BOOSTER
Balanced, Observed, Objective, Specific, Timely, Enhancing, Relevant.

Useful acronym for coaching and giving feedback to people. If anyone knows the origins please tell me.

STEPPPA
Subject, Target, Emotion, Perception, Plan, Pace, Adapt/Act. The STEPPPA acronym represents a coaching model devised and advocated by expert coach Angus McLeod. T he STEPPPA process entails:

Subject - validate the subject (the issue or matter) for the person being coached (coachee).
Target - validate or help to establish the specific target (or goal) of the coachee - called target identification.
Emotion - ensure emotion is addressed and resolved relating to the coachee, the issue, and the target, which if appropriate should be re-evaluated.
Perception - widen the perception and choice in the mind of the coachee.
Plan - help the coachee establish a clear plan (process with steps, not choices).
Pace - include pace (timescale and milestones) in the plan - (the two elements of plan and pace can be combined, and are sometimes expressed as P2).
Adapt or Act - review plan, adapt if necessary, before committing to act on the plan (equating to action).

ASK
Short for what goes inside every teaching session:
Activity, skills, knowledge

Variation: SKA - Skills, Knowledge, Attitude

KWHL
The objectives of education:

Know, Want to know, How to find out, Learn

IWWMW
The objectives of a training session:

In What Ways Might We

CAUSED
Can they do it?
Do they have a positive Attitude?
Is it Useful to them?

Are they Skilled in it?
Do they have similar Experience?
Is it Different.?

Career and Jobs:

DREAM
Dedication, Responsibility, Education, Attitude, Motivation

Explains itself - Often found on rubber wrist bands,

GROW
Goals, Reality, Options, Will.

This is relevant to any situation that requires realistic objectives to be established, and then the planning and determination to achieve them.

CLAMPS
The six acceptable reasons for leaving your job if asked why in a job interview:

Challenge, Location, Advancement, Money, Pride (or Prestige), Security

DIKWIAD?
Do I Know What I Am Doing?

Useful reminder to check readiness before starting anything which might cause problems if under-prepared.

HIRE
Hire
Integrity
Responsibility
Enthusiasm

or,

Honesty
Integrity
Respect
Ethics

STAR
A technique for taking behavioral interviews:

Situation - Action - Result

KRA
What each new hire must know:

Key Responsibility Areas

Business Planning:

GOSPA
Goals, Objectives, Strategies, Plans, Activities

This is a simple blueprint and order of thinking for business planning of any sort, even for large complex challenges and entire businesses.

IDEA
Identify, Design, Execute, Augment

Process for changing anything. Identify the issues, priorities, constraints, resources; Design the plan; Execute the plan; Augment, refine, adjust and improve activities to consolidate change.

MMM or 3M
Measurable, Manageable, Motivational.

The three essential legs for any contracted arrangement or understanding, or delegated task. Remove any of the three legs and the structure falls over.

4P (also PPPP)
Piss-Poor Prior Planning

Used in military contexts.

PDCA
A four-step model for carrying out change:

Plan, Do, Check, Action

DMAIC
Used for improving, optimizing and stabilizing business processes:

Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control.

Creativity and Problem Solving:

SWOT
Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats

Use it everyone – problem –solving, personal analysis, marketing planning, project planning, business planning…

IDEAL
Identify, Define, Explore, Action, Lookback.

Process for solving problems: Identify the problem, Define it, Explore possible solutions and effects, Action the chosen solution, and Look back at the solution you brought about.

PEST
Political, Economic, Social, Technological

Some use 'Environmental' used instead of 'Economic' depending on the context.

PEST is sometimes extended to 'PESTELI' in which the headings: Ecological (or Environmental), Legislative (or Legal), and Industry Analysis are added.

SLEPT
Social, Legal, Economic, Political, Technological. 'SLEPT analysis' is a business review method similar to PEST or SWOT for assessing factors enabling or obstructing the business's performance, and typically its development potential.

TOTB
(thus TOTBoxer and TOTBoxing)
Think Outside The Box/Thinking Outside The Box.
A TOTBoxer is a person who thinks outside the box - i.e., very creatively. TOTBoxing is thinking outside the box. Cleverer than a straightforward TOTB acronym, the expression elegantly describes a creative thinker, or the creative act.

SOSTAC
Situation analysis, Objectives, Strategy, Tactics, Action, Control. SOSTAC is a business marketing planning system developed by PR Smith.

SCAMPER
Creativity technique:
Substitute
Combine
Adapt
Modify, Magnify, Minify
Put to other use
Eliminate (Reverse, Rearrange).

PMI
A decision-making strategy created by Edward de Bono. For any problem or solution, list these:
Plus Points
Minus Points
Interesting Points

FFOE
A creativity technique:
Fluency (many ideas)
Flexibility (variety of ideas)
Originality (unique ideas)
Elaboration (fully developed ideas).

DO IT
A simple process for creativity:

Define problem
Open mind and apply creative techniques
Identify best solution
Transform

Business Management:

KCF
The main thing about any new business decision, plan or project:

Key Success Factors

DICEE
Guy Kawasaki's acronym for features of a great product:
Deep, Indulgent, Complete, Elegant, Emotive

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.

MOFMOF
Minimum Of Fuss, Maximum Of Flavor.

This emphasizes the concept of focusing your effort on what matters most. 'Minimum of Fuss' equates to minimum effort, investment, time, resources, etc. 'Maximum of Flavor' equates to maximum return, result, reward or effect, etc. This is the secret of productivity, sustainable success, and effectiveness in all fields.

MBWA
Management By Walking About (or Wandering Around).

If you are a manager and like to manage by walking about make sure you do it with humility and genuine interest. Better still why not actually do the job on the factory floor for a week and you'll really find out what's going on. Indirectly referred to as the 'HP Way'.

MBWAL
Management By Wandering Around and Listening. Extension of the MBWA management technique.

MELVIN
Mediocrity, Ego, Limits, Vanity, Incompetence, Name-calling.

Non-productive aspects of workplace behavior and attitude. Various MELVIN terms (e.g. 'NO MELVIN', 'Don't be a MELVIN', 'No MELVIN's here', etc) help remind people of the behaviors to avoid, especially in blame cultures or negative-thinking environments.

MILE
Maximum Impact, Little Effort.

Acronym to express the principle of optimizing productivity, and the value of identifying 'high-yield' areas on which to apply 'high-yield' methods and techniques.

Especially helpful in sales and marketing training.

MBA
Common answer is: Master of Business Administration. Cynics say it stands for ‘Master of Bullshit Answers’.

Or, Mop Bucket Attitude

MBO (or MBO's)
Management By Objectives. The classic management, delegation and development technique, but which people's activities and aims - and the coaching support given - can be geared to organizational targets and priorities.

PRIC
Problem, Rectification, Investigation, Correction.
Known as the corrective action loop. These are the essential four stages for good quality management practice, customer service development, quality of service, and general personal development. The main point is that rectifying the problem is only half the story; you need to ensure there is no recurrence.

PEP
Paternalistic, Economic, Participative. The three main motivational styles found in organizations and management.

PRIDE
Personal Responsibility In Delivering Excellence.

7S
Skills, Strategy, Structure, Style, Systems, Staff, Shared values.

The McKinsey organization’s famous 7S model values' for organizational culture, analysis and development. The idea is that the first six S's combine to form the seventh: 'shared values.’

Meetings:

POSTAD TV
Priorities, Outcomes, Sequence, Timings, Attendees, Date, Time, Venue

These are the essentials for a good meeting, and what must appear on the agenda. ('Outcomes' meaning required outcomes, i.e. discussion, decision, etc.)

Goal-setting:

SMART
Specific, Measurable, Agreed, Realistic, Time-bound.

Other interpretations of the SMART acronym:
Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound.

SMARTER
Specific, Measurable, Agreed, Realistic, Time-bound, Ethical, Recorded.

The expanded version of the SMART acronym.

Studying:

PORPE
A strategy to prepare for exams by predicting the questions on the exam:

Predict, Organize, Rehearse, Practice, and Evaluate

PLAN
A reading/study skills strategy:
Predict/Locate/Add/Note

DIDLS
A technique for analyzing the style of a piece of literature:

Diction (choice of words), Imagery, Details, Language, and Syntax (structure and patterns of sentences).

CROWN
A closure technique that helps you reflect on the completed lesson:

Communicate what you learned. Reaction. Offer one sentence that sums up what the whole lesson was about. Where are some different places you could use this? Note how well we did today.

LINK
An activity to help you activate prior knowledge before beginning a new topic.

List, Inquire, Note, Know

AGO
Edward de Bono's strategy to help you analyze the reasons behind actions:

Aims, Goals, Objectives

SQ3R
Survey, Question, Read, Recall, Review.

Quickly Surveying the whole thing (i.e. look but not in detail), next note down your Question areas, then Read it in detail, Recall your questions and Review the material you've read.

RTQ2
Read The Question Twice.

A very useful reminder for text-based exams, especially multiple choice tests, to help avoid making silly mistakes when the answer is known but given incorrectly due to rushing and misreading the question.


Self Improvement:

SUCCESS
Sense of direction, Understanding, Courage, Charity, Esteem, Self-confidence, Self-acceptance.

KISS
Keep It Simple Stupid

One of the all time great acronyms - a motto and reminder that simplicity works - in communications, design, philosophy, relationships, decision-making, meetings, management and life generally.

Apply and promote KISS to any situation to deter unnecessary complication, excuses, bureaucracy, red-tape, and to encourage practical positive outcomes, no-nonsense communications, integrity, truth, beauty, and honesty.

Variations on the KISS theme:
Keep It Short and Sweet
Keep It Simple Sunshine
Keep It Simple and Straightforward
Keep It Simple Sister
Keep It Simple Sweetheart

SUMO
A way of looking at life positively:

Shut Up Move On.

BRAVE
Be Ready and Victory's Easy

GREAT
Get Really Excited About Today

HELLO
Help Enrich and Lift the Lives of Others

HOPE
Helping Other People in Every way

LIFE
Live It Fully Everyday

PEACE
Progressing Everyday And Changing Everyway

ACT
Action Changes Things

PRIDE
Personal Responsibility In Delivering Excellence

SMILE
Special Magic In Living Everyday

PEACE
Pray Everyday And Cherish Everyone

TRUE
Trust Releases Unbelievable Enthusiasm

NAME
Not Another ME

RARE
Random Acts Of Recognition Everyday

HUG
Hearts Understand Goodness

PEOPLE
People Expect Openess Passion Love Excellence

PHD
Preserve Human Dignity

or,

Poor Hungry Driven

PAT
Passion Attracts Togetherness

TINSTAAFL
There Is No Such Thing as a Free Lunch
YOYO
You're On Your Own

MYOB
Mind Your Own Business

SOBER
Stay Off the Bottle, Enjoy the Road

STAND
Stop - Take a New Direction

L.E.A.D.
Learn, Educate, Appreciate, Develop.


Time Management:

DDDD (or, 4 D)
Technique of Time management:
Delete what is not urgent and not important.
Delay tasks that are not important at present.
Delegate asks that are beyond your competence.
Do: Do the urgent and important task immediately

WOMBAT
Waste Of Money Brain And Time

TMI
What the internet begat us:

Too Much Information

MIT(I/Y/W)(N/W)[TK]
What the internet begat, redux:

More Information Than I/You/We Needed/Wanted [To Know].

In case of time management, how we while away the hours entertaining ourselves:

Fitness:

BMI
Short for Body Mass Index, an indicator of obesity.

The BMI formula:
BMI = ( Weight in Kilograms / ( Height in Meters x Height in Meters ) )

The WHO regards a BMI of less than 18.5 as underweight and may indicate malnutrition, an eating disorder, or other health problems, while a BMI greater than 25 is considered overweight and above 30 is considered obese.

R.I.C.E.
Short for first aid treatment for strains, sprains, contusions, dislocations, or uncomplicated fractures:

Rest
Ice
Compression
Elevation

FITT
A basic principle of fitness training that stands for:
Frequency - how often
Intensity - how hard
Time - how long
Type - the type of training (strength, endurance etc.) ...

HIIT
Stands for High-intensity interval training - a method of exercise that involves brief periods of all-out, or sprint-like, effort, interspersed between lower-intensity recovery periods.

Happiness:

PERMA
A concept about seeking happiness, given by Martin Seligman
Positive Emotion
Engagement
Relationships
Meaning
Accomplishment

FEAR
Short for
False
Evidence
Appearing
Real
- Neale Donald Walsch

And this,

FEAR
Face Everything and Recover

Presentations:

ICEPAC
Short for qualities of a useful presentation:

Interest, Comprehension, Emphasis, Participation, Accomplishment, Confirmation

CREST
Training aids for presentation - Comparison, Reason, Example, Statistics, Testimony

MEGO
My Eyes Glazed Over

Watch for this sign from your audience at your next presentation.

Stress Management:

STOP
A technique for stress management:
Stop what you are doing, put things down for a minute.

Take a breath.

Observe your thoughts, feelings, and emotions.

Proceed with something that will support you in the moment – E.g. talking to a friend, going on a walk…

RELAX
A technique for stress management:
Recognize that you are actually stressed out.
Exercise to divert your thoughts, and to release all the tension and negative emotions that come with stress.
Letting Go - separate the necessary from the unnecessary. Not all things are worth stressing over. Moreover, nothing is permanent in this world.
Xtra sleep – sleeping gives your mind and body some rest. Sleeping may also help you form new ideas as your subconscious works while you rest.

AWARE
Accept the anxiety. Don’t try to fight it.
Watch the anxiety. Notice on your feeling, and your breathing. Just breathe it out.
Act normally.
Repeat the above steps in your mind if necessary.
Expect the best.

STAMP
Stay away from bullies, Tell someone, Avoid bad situations, Make friends, and Project confidence

Survival:

SURVIVAL
A helpful acronym used by the U.S. Military during survival situations::

Size up the situation - your physical condition, supplies and equipment, surrounding environment, your opponents condition.

Use all your senses - because it’s easy to get caught up in one sense in a high-stress situation.

Remember where you are.

Vanquish fear and panic - take a deep breath, focus only on what you need to do.

Improvise and improve - when you have nothing left to loose, be creative.

Value living - focus on the good things in life to motivate yourself. Remember what you are fighting for, the people that you love, and so on.

Act like the natives, when away from home. As the saying goes, ‘When in Rome…’

Live by your wits- most importantly, live in the moment.

STOP
Stop and Sit: And take a deep breath.

Think: Take a mental inventory of your options before you do anything. Prioritize.

Observe: What is noteworthy and useful for purposes of building a fire or shelter, or pose a risk? What is the weather like?

Plan: Use all the data you have gathered, and don’t panic.

SING
A useful self-defense technique of dealing with attackers, indicating where to hit quickly and with most force:

Solar-Plexus (Stomach) Instep Nose Groin

FFFF
Aka the 4 F’s of survival - 4 basic, primal needs that we must satisfy to survive and prosper.
Fight
Flight
Feed (eat)
Fornicate (mate)

Writing:

BIC
A big tip for writers - you have to sit down to write something - put in the hours.
Butt In Chair

A better alternative: BICHOK: Butt In Chair, Hands On Keyboard (only way to finish a book)

PEE
An Essay-writing Technique:
Point - Make a point.
Evidence - Quote the text.
Review - Check your work

FADQQ
Short for a technique for writing the main body of an essay:

Facts, Anecdote, Description, Question, Quote or Dialogue

FIRES
Short for another technique for writing the main body of an essay:

Facts, Incidents, Reasons, Examples, Statistics

PRGRLQ
Short for a technique for ending essays:

Predict, Recommend, Generalize, Restating, last events, Question

RUE
A writer should not explain everything that appears on the page. That takes the magic out of writing.

Resist the Urge to Explain

DEFENDS
Decide on audience, goals, and position
Examine the reasons for your theme
Form a list of points for each reason
Expose your position in the first sentence
Note each reason and supporting points
Drive home the position in the last sentence
Search for errors and correect
- A acronym for task-specific writing strategy (given by E.S. Ellis)


RAFT
A writing strategy:
Role of the Writer: Who are you as the writer? A movie star? The President? A plant?
Audience: To whom are you writing? A senator? Yourself? A company?
Format: In what format are you writing? A diary entry? A newspaper? A love letter?
Topic: What are you writing about?

PLAN
A writing strategy by Edwin S. Ellis:

Preview audience, goals, & words.
List main ideas & details.
Assign numbers to indicate order.
Note ideas in complete sentences.

P-I-E
A writing strategy to remember the key parts of a paragraph.

Point, Illustrations, Explanation

STOPS
Helps you remember which aspects of your writing they should check when editing: Sentence structure, Tenses, Organization, Punctuation, Spelling

SCOPE
A proofreading strategy: Spelling, Capitalization, Order of words, Punctuation, Express complete thoughts


Teamwork:

TEAM

Together Everyone Accomplishes Miracles/More
Together Everyone Accomplishes More
Together Everyone Achieves More
Together Everyone Acquires Money
Together Everyone Advances Missions
Together Everyone Advancing and Motivating
Together, Everyone and Anyone Matters

Vs.

Together Everyone Annoys Me

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