“I’ll reach out to you at 11am tomorrow and we can agree deliverables”, read the penultimate line of a client email I received this week. When I left the grind of nine to five I assumed I’d leave the business lingo that went with it filed firmly away in the archives department, but it seems that no matter where your ship may sail, corporate jargon is, like, totally on board with you.
I don’t miss the management meetings, but at least I can confidently say I always gave them 110% – that’s 10% focusing on the job in hand, 50% navigating my way through the gobbledygook, trying to figure out what on earth people were actually talking about and the remaining 50% packing my speech with said gobbledygook in a desperate attempt to demonstrate that I, too, was in the loop. The danger with doing the latter is that there is a high risk of getting the context wrong and committing a dreadful faux pas.
I probably committed my fair share of howlers but remained blissfully ignorant of the inward smiles and shudders of embarrassment of my more learned colleagues. One particular friend was not so lucky however. Wrapping up a crisis meeting in which we had just finished proactively mapping a time-critical bank of actionables for getting our project back on track, she neatly summarised the situation with, “So, it’s all hands on dick then.” Cue a few stifled giggles, a flush of embarrassment on the face of Richard, the MD on whom she was known to have an unrequited crush, a look of deep sympathy from the HR Director and no promotion.
Everyone likes to knock business speak, but now it no longer peppers my everyday existence, the little nuggets that still drop into my inbox make me feel comfortingly connected with the corporate world. So I present to you my corporate jargon top 10, which I hereby consign to Room 102 for posterity.
Core competences. It is invariably the people who bang on about core competences who are… well… the most incompetent.
Best of breed. This is not a dog show.
Reaching out – touching base – connecting. Whatever happened to a simple phone call?
Taking something to the next level. Whatever that may be.
Hitting the ground running. Just sounds painful.
Low hanging fruit. Cue worrying mental images of men’s dangly bits.
We’ll just have to suck it and see. Probably wise to keep the low-hanging fruit firmly out of reach.
Opening the kimono. Ditto.
Thinking outside the box. It doesn’t matter where you think, just do it.
Bringing something to the table. A packet of digestives and a mug of PG Tips will do nicely.