Every now and then we visit the world of corporatespeak to see how business jargon is faring: which words are in, which phrases are out. Unfortunately, many of the most used and over-used still find their way into common office parlance. With apologies to our state-side readers some of the most popular British phrases follow, and, no surprise, many of these cringeworthy euphemisms seem to emanate from the U.S. Ugh!
From the Guardian:
I don’t know about you, but I’m a sucker for a bit of joined up, blue sky thinking. I love nothing more than the opportunity to touch base with my boss first thing on a Monday morning. It gives me that 24 carat feeling.
I apologise for the sarcasm, but management speak makes most people want to staple the boss’s tongue to the desk. A straw poll around my office found jargon is seen by staff as a tool for making something seem more impressive than it actually is.
The Plain English Campaign says that many staff working for big corporate organisations find themselves using management speak as a way of disguising the fact that they haven’t done their job properly. Some people think that it is easy to bluff their way through by using long, impressive-sounding words and phrases, even if they don’t know what they mean, which is telling in itself.
Furthermore, a recent survey by Institute of Leadership & Management, revealed that management speak is used in almost two thirds (64%) of offices, with nearly a quarter (23%) considering it to be a pointless irritation. “Thinking outside the box” (57%), “going forward” (55%) and “let’s touch base” (39%) were identified as the top three most overused pieces of jargon.
Walk through any office and you’ll hear this kind of thing going on every day. Here are some of the most irritating euphemisms doing the rounds:
Helicopter view – need a phrase that means broad overview of the business? Then why not say “a broad view of the business”?
Idea shower – brainstorm might be out of fashion, but surely we can thought cascade something better than this drivel.
Touch base offline – meaning let’s meet and talk. Because, contrary to popular belief, it is possible to communicate without a Wi-Fi signal. No, really, it is. Fancy a coffee?
Low hanging fruit – easy win business. This would be perfect for hungry children in orchards, but what is really happening is an admission that you don’t want to take the complicated route.
Look under the bonnet – analyse a situation. Most people wouldn’t have a clue about a car engine. When I look under a car bonnet I scratch my head, try not to look like I haven’t got a clue, jiggle a few pipes and kick the tyres before handing the job over to a qualified professional.
Get all your ducks in a row – be organised. Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street had an obsession with rubber ducks. You may think I’m disorganised, but there’s no need to talk to me like a five-year-old.
Don’t let the grass grow too long on this one – work fast. I’m looking for a polite way of suggesting that you get off your backside and get on with it.
Not enough bandwidth – too busy. Really? Try upgrading to fibre optics. I reckon I know a few people who haven’t been blessed with enough “bandwidth” and it’s got nothing to do with being busy.
Cascading relevant information – speaking to your colleagues. If anything, this is worse than touching base offline. From the flourish of cascading through to relevant, and onto information – this is complete nonsense.
The strategic staircase – business plan. Thanks, but I’ll take the lift.
Run it up the flagpole – try it out. Could you attach yourself while you’re at it?
Read the entire story here.