Picture the scene - you've had a hard day in the office and you are just about to leave for home when your manager calls an urgent meeting. A critical work deadline is approaching and, in order to press home the message, he starts saying something like this:
"Seriously people, we need to think outside the box! Let's get a bit of blue sky thinking going here. Once we've synergised our goals, we can all step up to the plate and become the best thought leaders in the business!"
What would your response be to this? Would it engage you or enrage you?
You are not alone. According to a recent survey conducted by the Institute of Leadership and Management, a quarter or workers found business jargon 'a pointless irritation'. In worst-case scenarios it even led to workers feeling isolated and detached.
Such situations are clearly not good for business. “Management speak gets in the way,” according to the founder of the Plain English Campaign, Chrissie Mahler. “It acts as a barrier to procuring new business." She continues, saying "it isolates newcomers who feel they have to learn the lingo when they should be made to feel at home, and it gets in the way of business and finds its way onto forms, leaflets and official documents."
Mahler advises anyone enraged by management speak and jargon "to stand up and tell their bosses that they are not making any sense!"
There are other implications for businesses that use jargon; it might even affect the investability of a company. Terry Smith, chief executive of broker Tullett Prebon, is so enraged by the use of business jargon that he has drawn up a list of unacceptable words and phrases; if he finds examples of businesses using such words he refuses to invest in the guilty companies.
"We keep a banned word count for the companies we analyse because we think they provide an insight into their management. Our investment approach is about investing in good companies. They are best spotted by their good results – we do not need managements to tell us how good they are – but when we do listen to management, the straight talkers get our vote and our money."
So, if you find yourself working for a jargon-infested company, and can't take it anymore, it may be time to seek new pastures.
You are clearly the sort of employee who would be at home in such an environment. You can understand the jargon and use it to motivate and get the job done.
It's worth bearing in mind that business jargon is ever-evolving. Words used today may be considered old-fashioned tomorrow. You need to keep ahead of the curve. Here are a few of the latest words that you can use to dazzle and bewilder your colleagues - you never know, one of these may even earn you a promotion!
Advertainment - Simply an advert that entertains.
Alphanista - A woman who successfully achieves all her career and personal goals.
Inventreprenuers - An entrepreneur-inventor who not only creates the product but markets it as well.
Minergy - Using minimal energy to get the job done.
Return on involvement - By investing time in dealing with local causes and issues, such as fundraising, a company or brand can benefit from goodwill.
Tri-ti-tasking - This is the process of working on three tasks at once.
Twinternship - An intern tasked with the role of promoting using Twitter and Facebook.
Wantrepreneur - Someone who is on the cusp of being an entrepreneur but hasn't quite achieved it yet.
Please use the comment section below to share any stories or thoughts you may have on the use of business jargon in the workplace - it'll be interesting to see just how you all feel about this subject!