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How to Bypass Sucky Business Jargon

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Some business jargon is useful, especially when it’s the simplest way to convey a complicated concept or provides a useful shortcut for those in a certain line of work. But other times it’s rooted in something offensive (“drinking the Kool-Aid”), it’s a bad or embarrassing metaphor, or it makes you sound like you’re trying too hard to be cool.
Today we’re going to expose some of the most ridiculous corporate lingo out there and offera few simple tips to help you avoid sounding like a mindless corporate drone…

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How to Bypass Sucky Business Jargon

  1. 1. How to Bypass Sucky Business Jargon 5 lame phrases to avoid at work—and the alternatives to try instead
  2. 2. Introduction Some business jargon is useful, especially when it’s the simplest way to convey a complicated concept or provides a useful shortcut for those in a certain line of work. But other times it’s rooted in something offensive (“drinking the Kool-Aid”), it’s a bad or embarrassing metaphor, or it makes you sound like you’re trying too hard to be cool. Today we’re going to expose some of the most ridiculous corporate lingo out there and offera few simple tips to help you avoid sounding like a mindless corporate drone…
  3. 3. Sucky Business Jargon #1: “On Your Plate” Example: “Hey, Mike. What’s on your plate?”
  4. 4. Sucky Business Jargon #1: “On Your Plate” Why it sucks: It is no simpler to say than the alternative expression below, and you might actually get “mashed potatoes” as a response.
  5. 5. Sucky Business Jargon #1: “On Your Plate” Alternative expression: “What are you working on this week?”
  6. 6. Sucky Business Jargon #1: “On Your Plate” Better solution: Avoid this question entirely by knowing what your teammates are working on without having to interrupt them. This might mean investing in better tracking tools.
  7. 7. Sucky Business Jargon #2: “Open the Kimono” Example: “It’s time for the lead gen team to open the kimono.”
  8. 8. Sucky Business Jargon #2: “Open the Kimono” Why it sucks: It’s creepy. Co-workers who have more visual minds might actually be tempted to picture what’s under said kimono, which can’t be good for anyone.
  9. 9. Sucky Business Jargon #2: “Open the Kimono” Alternative expressions: “Let’s take a closer look at what’s going on with _______.”
  10. 10. Sucky Business Jargon #2: “Open the Kimono” Better solution: Because this abominable phrase implies that information and/or communications aren’t being shared, the best way to kill this sucky jargon is to tweak your processes and tools to make inter-team relations more transparent.
  11. 11. Sucky Business Jargon #3: “Move the Needle” Example: “Hiring one more person in Sales will really help us move the needle.”
  12. 12. Sucky Business Jargon #3: “Move the Needle” Why it sucks: It’s pretentious, somewhat ambiguous (how much exactly will the needle move?), not much of a time saver, and just maybe the most overused piece of jargon on this list.
  13. 13. Sucky Business Jargon #3: “Move the Needle” Alternative expression: “Make a difference”
  14. 14. Sucky Business Jargon #3: “Move the Needle” Better solution: Avoid generic, unhelpful terms like “move the needle” and, instead, use data and metrics that decision-makers can weigh objectively against other options.
  15. 15. Sucky Business Jargon #4: “Pow Wow” Example: “Lisa, can you gather your team for a 2:00 pow wow in my office?”
  16. 16. Sucky Business Jargon #4: “Pow Wow” Why it sucks: The pow wow has a specific, spiritual role in Native American culture and has nothing to do with discussing sales targets for Q2. Aside from being culturally insensitive, saying ‘pow wow’ doesn’t save any time or provide any additional meaning beyond that already provided by the word ‘meeting’.
  17. 17. Sucky Business Jargon #4: “Pow Wow” Alternative expression: “Meeting”
  18. 18. Sucky Business Jargon #4: “Pow Wow” Better solution: Be aware of all the terms that have been commandeered from other cultures into popular culture—or just office culture—that could be inadvertently hurtful or insensitive to others.
  19. 19. Sucky Business Jargon #5: “Throw It Over the Wall” Example: “Looks good to me. Go ahead and throw it over the wall.”
  20. 20. Sucky Business Jargon #5: “Throw It Over the Wall” Why it sucks: It’s vague, and it could mean difference things in different organizations. Worst of all, it highlights how crappy and haphazard the team’s handoffs to other teams really are.
  21. 21. Sucky Business Jargon #5: “Throw It Over the Wall” Alternative expressions: “Send the email.” “Share the document with the client.”
  22. 22. Sucky Business Jargon #5: “Throw It Over the Wall” Better solution: “The Wall” implies that you don’t know who’s on the other side and they don’t know you’re about to lob something over. Start focusing on increasing transparency and building handoff processes with other teams.
  23. 23. Sounds less lame at work today Clearly, these five sucky business terms do not comprise the only ways to sound like an idiot at the office. There are many, many more. At any rate, stop boiling the ocean and instead proactively leverage a cloud-based solution that you can onboard to disrupt the status quo, really move the needle, and empower the use of best practices—if you can get buy-in, that is. Now, go forth and stop sounding like a moron.

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