I had a meeting with a prospect last week. He was eager to brand and launch his start-up. And he was excited for the opportunity to discuss its positioning and promotion. He was so enthusiastic when we spoke on the phone that I was as fired up as he was on my way to the meeting.

When I arrived, we shook hands and sat down. I asked him to describe his start-up. He said:

Our vision is to synthesize scalable web-readiness and to matrix vertical distribution channels as part of a strategy to spontaneously generate scalable supply chains that will help us repurpose virtual sales channels, thereby disintermediating bricks-and-mortar outlets in favor of redefining ecommerce platforms. That will enable us to employ granular metrics toward our ultimate goals of maximizing repeatable infomediaries and leveraging self-perpetuating interactive functionalities.

Feeling a tad woozy, and on the pretense of going to the men’s room, I excused myself from the meeting. After spending 20 minutes in a hyperbaric chamber and getting an IV infusion of concentrated electrolytes, I started to feel like myself again. I returned to the room, attributing my protracted absence to a malfunctioning flushing mechanism in the loo. I don’t believe my prospect had stopped talking or realized I’d been gone:

… if we can just get on-message about our logistical concepts, we should be able to use some of our exploratory research points to deconstruct the tactical time-phases we’ll need to finalize our plans for implementing the managerial flexibility required to our benchmark our mission-critical KPIs …

I quietly slipped out of the room again and never went back. On my way to the bar, I was thinking about people like the prospect and wondering what it is that makes them so enamored of big words, buzzwords, and bluster. Do they feel insecure? Inadequate? Are they trying to appear knowledgeable? Are they hoping to conceal a lack of knowledge? Why do they seem to assume everyone else loves to hear them talk as much as they love to hear themselves talk? I couldn’t be sure.

When the barkeep asked me what I was having, I said, “I’ll have a clear distillate of dihydrogen monxide and ethanol with a splash of botanically flavored, fortified wine, and a couple of Mediterranean drupes.”

When he handed me my martini, I think I heard him call me a smartass.