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Why don’t people just say what they mean?

September 30, 2012

I cannot bear people who try to patronise others by using incomprehensible jargon. Especially when it usually covers up their own lack of understanding of what is going on. So herewith my list of phrases that I find particularly annoying, although I am sure there are plenty more that can be added to the list!

Top Ten Annoying Business Terms Translated in to Real English

  1. Going forward ; in the future/from now on
  2. Big ask; something that may involve working past 6 pm
  3. Stakeholder management: ensuring everyone is “bought in” to the project so the finger doesn’t point at you
  4. Bought in: convincing people your idea is a good idea so that they can share the blame when the shit hits the fan
  5. Empowerment :  the futile delegation of meaningless decision making by a boss to try to make you feel more important
  6. To action deliverables: to do your job
  7. We are on the same page; I have no idea what you just said but I just want to move on
  8. Indicative: complete fucking guesswork
  9. I hear you : I don’t give a shit what you think.
  10. Scope that out for us : Just shut up, fuck off to a room and come back when you’ve thought it through a bit more.

And one that I actually like:

  1. Al desco:  eating by your computer
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17 Responses to “Why don’t people just say what they mean?”


  1. […] so they haven’t the inclination to spend time reading and thinking. (see previous posts about saying what they mean or meetings being an alternative to […]


  2. […] know I posted here about people not saying what they mean in the corporate world but it kind of reminded me of those […]


  3. […] rants on the pointlessness of meetings, and how to organsie them badly, corporate jargon, and general frustration with office […]


  4. […] might have thought I had exhausted all my energies on hating the way language is used in previous posts. But I haven’t. Just as I was about to post thismy blue touch paper has been lit by the […]

  5. t upchurch Says:

    I like ‘bottoming things out’. It’s my kind of phrase.

  6. Anonymous Says:

    Agreed! Additional ‘touch base’ and ‘reach out’ (YUK!)
    ‘Going forward’ always amuses me as there’s no comparator – we’re hardly going to go backwards or sideways!! And ‘making a difference’ – indeed…! I sometimes think this one does need a descriptor – you can always make a ‘negative’ difference!! I always knew I was a bit different when I announced ‘there are various ways to skin this cat’ at an old GSK all-agency/ internal X-functional’ meeting …. some people looked shocked at the phraseology! Really?! The Irish in me has an automatic fall back to various ‘common people’ phrases to say what I mean – but, to the various ‘on-trend’ corporate speak types, this is anathema! (see – I can still use fancy words!)

    Anyway – I like your style!


    • Oh yes, touching base. Sadly I am guilty of using that one sometimes! The are millions of them….. I may have to write a whole other post……..and I’d always be happy to watch you skin the cat your way! X

  7. Martin sanders Says:

    When can you start? This translation is going on the wall of my office now.


    • I’d love that to be true Martin!

      • Martin sanders Says:

        You looking for work? Pardon my ignorance but what do you do?


      • Oh I’m always on the eye out for work – I’m a freelance medic consulting to industry and advertising agencies mostly. Whereas you, I think are in construction aren’t you?
        What i was hoping to be true was that you’re going to put it up on your wall!! 🙂

      • Martin sanders Says:

        It is, and circulated to like minded folk.
        Yeah Mace are basically a construction and project management company but we do a lot in the health sector – look up macegroup.com and look under the health and social care icon in Sectors. We do lots of consultancy work and employ health professionals in various roles. You never know….Not sure if they are a bunch of suits over there who may fall victim to your blog, we employ 3000 people now and on the law of averages there are some plonkers in here, all the guys i know (male and female) who are pissing themselves laughing over your list work on the construction side with me (no suits). I’m always on the look out for like minded souls and they don’t have to be construction pro’s (one of our best construction supervisors, female, was a gardener and showjumper), and you’ll no doubt be doubly handy if we need some first aid (lacerated genitalia aside, what a pillock).
        Time for beer, need to toddle off back to the hotel. The joy of living away from home, all the unrestricted hedonistic pleasures of The Ibis on Bath Road.
        Keep them coming
        Martin


      • Bloody hell you are only down the road ! Next time you’re at the ibis let me know and we can share a beer!

  8. georgiemcclarke Says:

    Haha, great top 10! They get funnier as it goes on, I can feel you winding yourself up as you write it…! Love al desco, never heard that before 🙂


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