Saturday, 25 April 2009

Office Speak 101

I am still chuckling at the BBC Magazine article in which readers have contributed annoying 'Office Speak' jargon. Some of the new words and phrases which have crept into the office are great, annoying and confusing - all in one go.

I remember the film with Henry Fonda about a jury considering a verdict on a young guy and an advertising executive said he an idea and wanted, 'To run it up the flagpole and see who saluted', and then I heard that repeated on a visit to a company in the US and burst out laughing which seemed to upset the chap I was meeting. Mind you, he was quick to 'internalise' my mirth and 'open his kimono' before coming up with more 'blue sky thinking' and 'walking me through' his plans.

Doesn't 'That's sales 101' really wind you up? I used to get that brought up so often by US colleagues so I tried giving them some of my own back by saying 'You're batting on a sticky wicket here' to which they often replied, 'The bases are loaded,' 'Lock and load', 'let's burn some rubber' and 'hit the deck running'.

One day when someone was running through their figures and trying to sound 'upbeat' on a 'customer-challenged scenario', an American colleague leaned to me and said, 'You can't put lipstick on a pig.' Since then Barack Obama had tried using it and it got him in tepid water with the Governor of Alaska.

Those are more old classics, some of the newer ones are terribly annoying. 'We can't lowball this one', 'See what's under the hood', 'We're behind the 8 ball', 'I'll give you a factoid' are all creepy new ones. Some of the really daft ones are, 'Let's do some 360 degree thinking', 'Get some granularity here', 'I don't have visibility of this', 'Thanks for sharing this with me', 'Thanks for reaching out', 'Let's live the values', 'We need to downsize'.

I am sure someone has a glossary for all these because some are baffling. The wonderful thing about people using them is that often you have to slow them down and ask what they are talking about which defeats the point of saying it - if people don't understand then it's bad communication.

Anyway, let's put a wrapper on this subject, get a 35,000ft view, strategize our next steps, then put the pedal to the metal, after all its business 2.0 we are in now, so we need to all step up to the plate, upscale our bandwidth, think out of the box, take it to the bank, get all our ducks in a row, work out what our secret sauce is, pick the low hanging fruit, and get a holistic view before we can engage the organisation, share our thoughts, take the feedback offline, and create idea showers to verbalize our thinking.

From there we should have a roadmap to go forward and create a top down view from a bottom up perspective, so have a set of wide ranging options and then we can energize the organisation to face new challenges, seek new goals to remobilise our resources and monetise this sucker.

After all you can't be all-in if you don't up the ante, so let's use the Louisville Slugger to break the nut and get everyone onboard and singing from the same hymn sheet before we start from the get-go. So everyone go check your status, give me an update, tweet the results, get a call to action and then go make a paradigm shift before it's web 4.0 before you know it. The we can all google it and have a webex.

After all, it's Sales 101 (Office Speak for Mornington Crescent).

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