Wednesday, March 6, 2013

13 Most Contemptuous Corporate Speak Terms

In these days of digital connectedness many of us take advantage of online media to keep abreast of what is going in the world. Some of us just like to read funny anecdotes to get our blood circulating in the morning. Then there are those of us who just read what catches our eye and sometimes we come across something worth sharing. My daily website of choice is, they not only offer quality content on social media but also on writing and editing which always make me giggle. I read this and it made me laugh these terms are truly atrocious and the unfortunate part is people use them every day despite that they are just fluff.  

I give props to the original author, Paula Kiger, who writes about the 12 supercilious corporate speak terms, but I did have to add one more for flavor…..

1.Synergy - People say this if they want people with complementary talents or resources to find a way to do something that would be impossible without working together.

Translation: "You have something I need. I have something you need. Let's make something great together."

2. Leverage - People say this if they want to use something that has already been done, bought or said to move a project forward without having to start from scratch.

Translation: "Joe already has his project management certification. Let's take advantage of that instead of paying for someone else to get theirs."

3. Pedagogy - The person who says this is someone in the field of education who chose to use four syllables when two would do: "teaching."

Translation: "Teaching educates students." – Just a side note on this one, I have NEVER heard this term being used in corporate America, but now that I have I think I feel compelled to find a way to use it just to see what other people would say.

4. Deep dive - This is a legitimate IT term that means to immerse a group quickly into a topic to brainstorm an idea or solve a problem. But as a layperson in meetings where people use the term, it always makes me giggle a tiny bit and lose track of my corporate-speak tick marks.

Translation: "Let's all think quickly and rapidly about this concept so we can get some good ideas going."

5. Scalable - People say this when they want the work done in step one to be something they can make bigger and easier without recreating the wheel. Like "deep dive," it is legitimate in IT.

Translation: "We're going to program this function for your 10 users, but if the idea catches on and a million users want to do the same thing, it will be easy to do that."

6. Ping - Someone who wants to communicate with someone else quickly and electronically without looking him in the eyes says this. There's no translation, but if you really want to throw someone off, walk two doors down to his desk and look him in the eyes. I love this term I use it all the time

7. Actionable - The person who says this is someone who is seriously hoping what he wrote on paper will, in reality, work.

Translation: "It will work." ”Hoping”, is the key word here...

8. Mitigate - People say this if they are facing a lengthy Gantt chart or project plan, and seriously hope to prevent something from derailing progress.

Translation: "Let's make sure things don't go wrong." Always have a mitigation plan, don't learn the hard way.

9. Granularity - This is what the person taking the deep dive has to wade—or swim—through: a bunch of very specific details.

Translation: "You will need to read 200 pages in that work plan to make sure there is a plan to close the door when it gets cold outside." IMHO, don't use this term if it’s not necessary. It just sounds silly despite the fact that you might think it makes you sound intelligent.

10. Seamless - People say this in public programs where the goal is for fifteen entities to make it look like they are one from the client's end. Seamless doesn't happen often. When it does, there's a lot of hard work going on in the background.

Translation: "It took five entities with lengthy names to make your 'one-stop' application a reality. Five more will handle it before you get an answer."

11. In the weeds - This is where you are while you deal with granularity and are on the verge of taking a deep dive. It is where you are threatened with losing sight of the main objective. I don't think I have never heard anyone in corporate America use this term unless they had some history of previous employment as a waiter.

Translation: "While you are re-writing a letter no one will need to receive for two years, someone else is getting credibility points for saying, 'Let's break this process down into manageable pieces. The weeds are a bad place to be unless you have a way out.'"

12. Robust - This means we want to keep the contract—we really do. We have a plan.
Translation: "Our plan/project/product is no lightweight." I am guilty of using this term, I don't think it is a bad thing.

Finally the one that the author missed:

13. Level-Set - To get everyone on the same page, singing from the same choir sheet. This phrase just sounds to me like it has an I-am-slightly-smarter-than-you-all ring to it.

Translation: "While you thought it meant this it really meant that, just making sure you were all paying attention."

It’s the little things that make me smile sometimes. J

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