If you have served in the military or just watched war movies, you are familiar with the scene depicted in the illustration. A squadron has landed on the beach and is under fire from the enemy. The communication tech pulls out his walkie-talkie and calls in air support or missiles from the ship to cover them while they move forward. In moments the enemy is under fire and moves away and the allied forces move into the location they need to occupy in order to be prepared for a full-fledged attack.
Such an action is called a liaison, in that technology has been employed to gather those necessary to accomplish an important task. In today’s warfare, the communication might call in a drone missile that will hone in on the enemy and wipe them out before they can do further damage to the allied force.
The important action in these cases is that much-needed support has been gathered quickly and efficiently.
That effort is not restricted to military functions, however. The term originated during World War I and represented a major improvement over military communication, and represented efficiency which was designed to protect lives.
In the business world the term liaison is used in a similar, but less dramatic way. A company official may ask the leadership in a specific area to liaison at a specific time and place to strategize a newly-developed process to reach a specific client base. Or it may be to introduce a new product and calculate the pro’s and con’s before introducing the product publicly. A text message or tweet may have been the vehicle through which the information was transmitted, and the personnel affected may have been notified to gather immediately.
One way to say this is that they are asked/directed to liaise at the board room in 20 minutes. I’m not fond of these neologisms (new words) which are shortened from existing words. But it’s beyond my control, and liaise is here to stay. The word liaison has its origin in the 13th century with the French word lier, used in the culinary field meaning “to bind.”
Photo Credit: olive-drab.com