Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Listmania: Corporate Jargon

As I sat in a meeting at work today, I realized how how ridiculous some of the conversations we have on a daily basis are. They are just littered with jargon that basically means anything BUT what it says. And so I present my Top 5 words that if eliminated from conversation at my workplace would render most people speechless (**including myself....I am not safe from a jargon free vocabulary.)

1) Leverage: We leverage everything at work. Partnerships, phone calls, contracts, email, voice mail, coupons, bosses, snacks, etc. You get the point. I deem this word the absolutely most over-used word. Isn't this just a fancy way of saying "use?" Or a nicer way of saying "Take advantage of"?

2) Circle-Back: This phrase is usually stated when you ask someone a question and that person has absolutely no clue how to answer. Which of course lends itself to,  "I'm going to check on a 'few things' (i.e. ask someone who actually knows) and circle-back with you on this question."

3) "Wanted to Check-in": this is the classic opener to any email where you have clearly NOT received a response on something, but instead of saying just that, us MN nice people soften it with "I just wanted to check-in..." when in reality you want to say "Why the hell has it taken so long for you to get to this.." or "You better make sure you get this on time and here is my gentler-than-necessary nudge"

4) Take This Offline: This a multi-faceted phrase that can be used by an employee who needs to contradict their boss and doesn't want to do it in front of everyone in the meeting, or by a boss who doesn't want to make their employee look stupid in front of everyone. How versatile! Also commonly used because there are people in that meeting that (Gasp!) other people don't want to hear the conversation. Are you following all of this? But the best use in my opinion is when someone actually throws the hammer down and takes something offline because it truly isn't relevant to the conversation (a rare occurrence!).

5) Reiterate: This word is not so much corporate jargon as it is used with a 'secret' meaning. Usually, I have seen this used when a person can clearly tell that who ever they are talking to is not listening to them, and are dangerously close to deciding in favor of exactly the opposite. Commonly paired with "I just" or "I want" reiterate is a word that ensures everyone knows where you stand on something even if you have been beating that dead horse for the last 5 months.

So if these are new to you, feel free to try them out and see what happens...better yet see if you can put them all together in once sentance. That would most likely render any single person powerless from your jargon geniusness.

11 comments:

Faith | MyPostcardPrinting.com said...

These are great pointers to discuss. I'll definitely try this at work and on my emails. You have been improving everyday on your posts. :)

Anonymous said...

Gotta love the buzzwords...."drill down" is hot right now in AmFam land...Skipper had a good one coming out of Gundersen "unpacking the invisible backpack"...

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to check in and reiterate I will not take this offline to circle back to create leverage. Just not how I roll.
Uncle Todd

Scorpicon said...

It's funny, where I work, we deal with financial leverage all the time, so no one uses "leverage" in a buzz-word way. I bet if you worked on a cattle ranch, no one would use "circle-back" in a buzz-word way.

Stephanie said...

I'm so glad someone has finally done the deep dive on this language! Whatever would we do without the jargon. :-)
~steph

Becca said...

Nice.
I am a frequent user of wanted to check in.
I would love to come to work with you some day.
Don't they have a take your sister to work day?
I'm going to start one.

Steph said...

HA! I always use Check in - And for the exact reason you mention! A close second is leverage as I am the queen of manipulation most days ;)

Amy said...

Oh boy same jargon-ed language at my work! I have one to add: ad-hoc. I thought everyone knew what that meant but turns out the general public does not.

Anonymous said...

So yesterday all 5 Biomeds are on a conference call with some company pitching a tracking product, anywho...at some point one of the feather merchants (sales rep) says he will "circle back"...I start giggling...I can see the ??WTF?? on their faces. It gave me a warm fuzzy feeling, just like peeing in my wetsuit, or vicodin and beer...
Uncle Todd

Greta Hanson said...

Todd--Glad that jargon is alive an well all across America. :)

Anonymous said...

YOU ARE RUNNING A CLOSE SECOND WITH UNCLE TODD...YOU BOTH ARE QUITE THE PAIR IN THE BLOG-O-SPHERE...GOOD TO TALK TO YOU LAST WEEK...WILL 'TRY' TO FORWARD A READING LIST...BEST THE NATE...LOVE YOU GUYS....TOF