Understanding Corporate Speak

Contemporary English is rife with colloquialisms, slang and abbreviations. At times words are so shortened, personalised or abstract that they’re barely understandable. Funnily enough, the (self proclaimed) measuring stick of society; the corporate world has its own indistinguishable set of words. I say funny because they are, utterly hilarious.

At the start of this year I was new to the corporate world. Sure, I can use excel and navigate outlook adeptly but when it came to team meetings I was baffled about how much talk, (compared to work) happened. Even worse was all the acronyms and shuffling of paper. Admittedly I spend my evenings writing about emotions and g-strings vs. Brazilian cut underwear but this dialect is next level perplexing.

Here’s what I’ve learnt so far…

Touch base – Lets catch up on that (later). Actually nothing is touched and mostly just more high level fluffy words are flung around

Tic-tac – ‘Tic-tac between’ means to go back and forth. Very disappointing that there’s no actual candy involved in the transaction

Streamline – Is this a fancy car modification or a swimming technique? Either would be more relevant than using this word to describe a tactical approach to work.

Flip flop – to ‘flip flop around’ means to waste an interaction and get no work done in the process of trying to communicate. Think of wet thongs, ain’t nobody got time for that.

Speak to the document – in corporate world they love documents so much that they mysteriously develop human components and speak to them, not about them. Something about ownership I’m guessing

Catch up for coffee – Euphemism to describe short meeting. No coffee or cake is consumed. V. Boring. V. Disappointing

Doco, Preso – Despite being generally pedantic about most elements of life corporates choose their own colloquialisms and allow their own sacred, high level words to be spoken with an acute level of slangish drawl attached. No word is safe! Survo, desk-o, mug-o, beer-o.

Crisp – usually used as an adjective to describe more riveting boring piece of shit documents lacking personality or soul.

War & Peace – Poor Mr Tolstoy. If only he knew that his famed work was being brandied around offices far and wide as a measure of something you don’t want your work to be. Perhaps I’m biased but this seems quite counterintuitive. Usually used to indicate that you don’t require a work of biblical proportions, ‘war and peace’ generally carries a negative descriptive tone i.e. “It doesn’t have to be war and peace”

Robust discussion – Robust is overused as a description for anything in a state of volatility. A robust discussion is usually accompanied by a raised eyebrow and the slow of speech which perfectly articulates what actually happened; a toddler brawl in the sandpit over the crusts of a Nutella sandwich.

Close the Loop – Means to end the conversation, but, as most things maintain an element of vagueness and uncertainty escaping the cyclical repetition of these loops seems extremely unlikely.

1 pageR – said with indentation on the R, pronounced like an A. Due to the fact that most documents are regurgitated pieces of shit that look and/or sound the same, sometimes they’re referred to by their description rather than their content. Describing content gets too confusing because everything would be called either ‘zzzzzzzzz’, ‘snore’ or ‘death’. Corporates lack the creativity and/or the imagination to come up with original names or short cuts so they default to naming them by their size or length. Confusion begins AFTER the fact that it becomes obvious that there’s more than 1, 1 PAGA or 23 PAGERAAA in the world. Damn.

Lets take it offline – Directly translates to “Lets talk about it in another redundant meeting, but not in this meeting”. Despite the reference to lines there’s no actual lines include in the transaction, either virtual or suicidal

I hope this gives you some clarity around exactly what they are all talking about. Keep fighting the good fight, and bringing streamlined creativity to an otherwise dull world.


JLM xx

Posted by    |   October 17th, 2016   |   No Comments

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