In the US we have the ever eloquent “where are we at?” So far, I haven’t noticed the UK’s “at the end of the day”, thank heavens for small mercies.
The expression that drives me nuts is 110%, usually said to express passion/commitment/support by people who are not very good at maths. This has created something of a cliché inflation, where people are now saying 120%, 200%, or if you are really REALLY committed, 500%. I remember Gordon Brown once saying he was 101% behind Tony Blair, to which people reacted “What? Only 101?”
My least favourite business speak term is “not enough bandwidth”. When an employee used this term to refuse an additional assignment, I realised I was completely “out of the loop”.
I once had a boss who said, “You can’t have your cake and eat it, so you have to step up to the plate and face the music”. It was in that moment I knew I had to resign before somebody got badly hurt by a pencil.
“Capture your colleagues – make sure everyone attends the risk management workshop (compulsory common sense training for idiots).”
I have taken to playing buzzword bingo when in meetings. It certainly makes it more entertaining when I am feeding it back (or should that be cascading?) at work.
Ian Everett, Bolton
In my work environment it’s all cascading at the moment. What they really mean is to communicate or disseminate information, usually downwards. What they don’t seem to appreciate is that it sounds like we’re being wee’d on. Which we usually are.
At a large media company where I once worked, the head of human resources – itself a weaselly neologism for personnel – told us that she would be cascading down new information to staff. What she meant was she was going to send them a memo. It was one of the reasons I resigned – that, and the fact that the chief exec persisted on referring to the company as a really cool train set.
Working for an American corporation, this year’s favourite word seems to be granularity, meaning detail. As in “down to that level of granularity”.
On the wall of our office we have a large certificate, signed by all the senior management team, in which they solemnly promise to leverage their talents, display and inspire unyielding integrity, and lots of other pretentious buzz-phrases like that. Clueless, the lot of them.
After a reduction in workforce, my university department sent this notice out to confused campus customers – “Thank you for your note. We are assessing and mitigating immediate impacts, and developing a high level overview to help frame the conversation with our customers and key stakeholders. We intend to start that process within the week. In the meantime, please continue to raise specific concerns or questions about projects with my office via the Transition Support Center.”