Knowing another language can come in handy. For example, I recall enough from my high school and college French classes to be able to get by – or at least ask for directions to the bathroom – if I ever find myself in France. And, my years in law school and law practice armed me with enough arcane “Legalese” (not an actual language, but derived from Latin) terms and phrases to be able to navigate the legal system.
I also know corporate-speak. Most of that, however, is just plain silly.
The Wall Street Journal recently surveyed business executives to get their take on which corporate buzzwords should be banned from the boardroom. While I agree that all of the winning(?) terms are over-used, I think that a few do convey helpful imagery and are therefore worth keeping, namely “push the envelope,” “out of the box,” and “low hanging fruit.” That’s about it, though. “Going forward?” Unnecessary, extra words. “Game change?” Business is not a game. “Ideate?” What exactly does that mean, anyway? And “reach out?” I’m not sure why, but that one has always made me cringe.
Corporate-speak is so pervasive in the business world that I used to amuse myself by amassing my own collection of boardroom bromides. Here are some representative gems, all taken from real-world meetings, presentations, calls, and emails, and most uttered by otherwise smart and talented people:
“interesting data point”
“fortify our talent roadmap”
“brand refresh rollout”
“drive efficiencies and standardization”
“deliver incremental customer value”
“internal stakeholder support”
“socialize the draft to the team”
“socialize it for input”
“generate differentiated value”
“surface the concerns”
And the list goes on … but I’ll spare you.