Friday, June 19, 2009

50 Annoying Office-Speak Phrases Of The Day

A great list from Lesley and BBC News Magazine, as submitted by its readers. This is the kind of BS that makes me glad I don't work for a big company.

"When I worked for Verizon, I found the phrase going forward to be more sinister than annoying. When used by my boss - sorry, team leader - it was understood to mean that the topic of conversation was at an end and not be discussed again." - Vancouver, Canada

"My employers recently informed staff that we are no longer allowed to use the phrase brainstorm because it might have negative connotations associated with fits. We must now take idea showers." – UK

"Incentivise is the one that does it for me." - Perth, Scotland

"My favourite which I hear from the managers at the bank I work for is let's touch base about that offline. I think it means have a private chat but I am still not sure." - Wolverhampton, UK

"We used to collect the jargon used in a list and award the person with the most at the end of the year. The winner was a client manager with the classic 'you can't turn a tanker around with a speed boat change.' What? Second was 'we need a holistic, cradle-to-grave approach,' whatever that is." - Manchester, UK


"The business-speak that I abhor is pre-prepare and forward planning. Is there any other kind of preparedness or planning?" – Exeter, UK

"I work in one of those humble call centres for a bank. Apparently, what we're doing at the moment is sprinkling our magic along the way. It's a call centre, not Hogwarts." - Ayrshire, UK

"The business phrase I find most irritating is close of play, which is only slightly worse than actioning something." – London, UK

"The expression that drives me nuts is 110%, to express passion/commitment/ support by people who are not very good at math. This has created something of a cliché-inflation, where people are now saying 120%, 200%, or, if you are really REALLY committed, 500%. I remember once the then-chancellor Gordon Brown saying he was 101% behind Tony Blair, to which people reacted 'What? Only 101?'" - London, UK

"My least favourite business-speak term is not enough bandwidth. When an employee used this term to refuse an additional assignment, I realised I was completely out of the loop." - Berkeley, California, USA

"In my work environment it's all cascading at the moment. What they really mean is to communicate or disseminate information, usually downwards. What they don't seem to appreciate is that it sounds like we're being wee'd on. Which we usually are." - London, UK

"On the wall of our office we have a large signed certificate, signed by all the senior management team, in which they solemnly promise to leverage their talents, display and inspire unyielding integrity, and lots of other pretentious buzz-phrases like that. Clueless, the lot of them." - Cheltenham UK

"Thanks for the impactful article; I especially appreciated the level of granularity. A high altitude view often misses the siloed thinking typical of most businesses.
Absent any scheme for incentivitising clear speech, however, I'm afraid we're stuck with biz-speak." - New York, NY, USA

"The latest that's stuck in my head is we are still optimistic things will feed through the sales and delivery pipeline (i.e.: we actually haven't sold anything to anyone yet but maybe we will one day)." - Southampton, UK

"At my old company, anyone involved with a particular product was encouraged to be a product evangelist. And software users these days, so we hear, want to be platform atheists so that their computers will run programs from any manufacturer." – Thailand

"A pet hate is the utterly pointless expression in this space. So instead of the perfectly adequate 'how can I help?' it's 'how can I help in this space?' Or the classic I heard on Friday, 'How can we help our customers in this space going forward?'" – London, UK


For the rest, see the full list at BBC News Magazine.

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