Word Usage - Corporate Speak

Corporate meeting speak is a bane on most wordies' existences. When middle to upper management convenes to go over plans for the year or catch up on everyone's progress, we understand that time is a factor. You may have only a short time in which to get important information across and dwelling on minutia eats up precious seconds and it bores the crap out of those not intimately involved. So you dumb it down and shorten it up, but the words are still smart sounding so as not to reveal the true nature of the actions. You don't want people to think you're ineffectual either, and being to curt can impact your ability to manage your people.

However, there are some words and phrases that are meaninglessly long or overblown and what they are replacing may not need replacing.

The following are examples of words or phrases that should be retired from our vocabulary and not because they are wrong, but because they border on double speak or redundancy.

Spend (or other verbs) as a noun, ie "...our third quarter spend." That "ing" was really tripping people up.

Take it off line. To a tech, that means shut something down. To a manufacturer, it means to remove a worker. To cube dwellers, it means to talk outside of the meeting. You can't say, "We'll talk later?"

Skill set. You're adding an 'e' and 't' to say the same thing. More words doesn't mean better meaning. "This doesn't fit my skills." That works for me.

Going forward - (quoting my friend Dstew) "Indicates I am an executive; I'm keeping this intentionally vague." This can be said for most things said during quarterly meetings.

Higher level - Another friend (Mer) suggested this one as a way of indicating that nothing will be accomplished at the meeting. "Those decisions will have to be made at a higher level."

30,000 ft. view - I don't know why this one bothers me. It's to indicate a broad, macro view of a project or business goal. Rather than get mired in minutia and micromanaging, a group will step back and assess things as a whole.

Big pole in the tent - Again, don't know why this gets to me; probably because it's over used. To indicate the biggest problem/project a group or company is currently addressing. It makes me feel like if it's not accomplished, the whole thing falls apart, which I guess is the point. I just hate the idea of getting paid by a circus.

If you have more, please add them to the comments.

No comments: