There’s English, and then there’s business English—that jumble of jargon and overly complicated words that serve no purpose other than to confuse your corporate minions and annoy the hell out of the rest of us.
Maybe these words are only picked up by individuals looking for a tow, a step-up or a hand in reaching ‘executive status’. If you ask me it just underlines a lack of originality in one’s own expression. Personally, I’d be embarrassed to be seen as someone who spoke like this, so why don’t others?
Today’s action item is to dialogue about jargon that has gained traction in the business world. In other words, here’s a list of business terms and phrases to avoid with ideas for what you can say instead. Your staff and clients will thank you for it…so will I.
actionable: Which projects are actionable this year?
REWRITE: Which projects can we do this year?
action item: This is an action item for this week.
REWRITE: This is something we need to do this week.
air out: Let’s air out that issue in today’s meeting.
REWRITE: Let’s discuss that issue in today’s meeting.
at this juncture: We can’t go public at this juncture.
REWRITE: We can’t go public at this time.
bring to the table: What can you bring to the table for this project?
REWRITE: What can you contribute to this project?
circle back around: I’ll circle back around about that project tomorrow.
REWRITE: Let’s talk about that project tomorrow.
circle with: Circle with Deb about that project this afternoon.
REWRITE: Meet with Deb about that project this afternoon.
core competencies: These are our company’s core competencies.
REWRITE: These are what our company does best.
dial in: We should dial in Jude for this project.
REWRITE: We should include Jude for this project.
dialogue (verb): Dialogue with Jan about the project.
REWRITE: Talk with Jan about the project.
driver: What are the key drivers to improve our company?
REWRITE: What are the key factors in improving our company?
facetime: Let’s schedule some facetime with the director.
REWRITE: Let’s schedule a meeting in the director’s office.
functionality: Our department has increased functionality.
REWRITE: Our department has improved. / Our department functions better (than last year). / Our department has more functions.
gain traction: We need this project to gain traction in the company.
REWRITE: We need to show the importance of this project.
UUURRRGH! This one is highly irritating to me. Why do people latch onto this stuff?
human capital: At our company, our human capital is most important.
REWRITE: At our company, our employees are most important.
incentivise: The rebate will incentivise more shoppers to buy it.
REWRITE: The rebate will encourage more shoppers to buy it.
interface: Can we interface after lunch?
REWRITE: Can we talk after lunch?
keep in the loop: Be sure to keep Judy in the loop.
REWRITE: Be sure to include Judy.
leverage: Let’s find a way to leverage that resource.
REWRITE: Let’s find a way to use that resource.
MY BIGGEST PET HATE, especially here in England where grown men have suddenly started using it and with the American pronunciation.
on point: Judy is on point for today’s meeting.
REWRITE: Judy is leading today’s meeting.
operationalise: Let’s operationalise this task today.
REWRITE: Let’s do this task today.
productise: Let’s productise this idea.
REWRITE: Let’s find a way to make this idea into a product.
I’ve been guilty of this a few times in the past month [shame]
pushback: Judy received pushback about her idea.
REWRITE: Judy received opposition to her idea.
ramp up: We should ramp up production next quarter.
REWRITE: We should increase production next quarter.
reach out: I want to reach out to you to….
REWRITE: I’d like to ask you.
task (verb): Task that project to Judy.
REWRITE: Assign that project to Judy.
touch base: Could you touch base with Judy about that project?
REWRITE: Could you talk with Judy about that project?
Do you have other entries? Please share your irksome business jargon in the comments section. I’d love you to keep me ‘in the loop’ [another stupid phrase]. firstname.lastname@example.org
And finally, I’d like to make it known that using the feature image of David Brent [Ricky Gervais] doesn’t mean I think that character is a dickhead. Far from it. I’ve laughed at and watched The Office so many times I’ve lost count. It’s utterly brilliant.
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