QUOTE OF THE DAY (OR MORE): "No, no. You don't understand. This is an '89 Calico. I'm pretty sure that exceeds the Kelly Blue Book value. The cat's totaled." --A comedian whose name I forget talking about a vet who presents a $3,000 bill for a 12-year-old cat

Friday, April 3, 2009

Corporate Speak

Having a masters degree in English language literature, I must admit that corporate speak, the special indelicate language spoken in the business world, tickles my funny bone.

It’s not just a myth, either, most people in Corporate America really do use these phrases:

- shift the paradigm
- drive the strategy
- think outside the box
- take it off-line
- drill down
- win-win
- corporate competency
- gap analysis
- out of the loop
- tick the box
- dialogue
- granular level
- low-hanging fruit
- disconnect
- impact (used as a verb! Argh!)
- own that decision
- run that up the flagpole

These days there are “Bingo” games you can find on the web with a box for each phrase; when you’re sitting in a meeting you surreptitiously check each box as the phrase is uttered until you have “Bingo.”

I’ll spare you from the boring examples of how these phrases are used in every day corporate life, but just imagine using these in the civilian world…

Sally: “Why don’t we go to Nordstrom’s first so we can tick that box; if we find a few things to try on we can dialogue about what may be the best fit and drill down to the final choices.”

Jeannie: “That sounds like a win-win situation, Sally. I’ll run that up the flagpole with my husband and take it offline.”

Sally: “Okay, Jeannie. So there’s no disconnect, as soon as you own that decision let me know so I can drive the strategy with Stan.”

Jeannie: “I won’t leave you out of the loop, Sally. I’ll let Bob know I’m going for the low hanging fruit today so it won’t impact the budget this month. If he’s thinking outside the box at a granular level he’ll realize that a gap analysis would reveal I’m frightfully low on casual skirts.”

Sally: “Good for you, girlfriend! People skills have always been your core competency. I need to shift the paradigm in my household so that I could drive the same strategy with Stan.”

Jeannie: “See you later, then.”

Sally: “Later, friend.”


  1. OMG that's perfect! I'm trying to think of another to add to the mix but I think you got them all. I specialized at taking it off line when I was living in corporate America.

  2. Ugh. Anyone who uses these phrases in the corporate world or in their everyday lives should be run up a flagpole.

  3. This sounded disturbingly like a conversation with my father...

    Great job!

  4. Well, golly, Natasha and Manic Mommy, thanks...

    Shawn, alas; that's the way it is...

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