50 Office-Speak You Love to Hate

Lucy Kellaway was on a mission to get rid of the corporatese phrase "going forward" that she hated so much, and wrote a post about it on the BBC Magazine. Her post garnered so much reaction that the BBC culled the top 50 office-speak phrases that should definitely be banned.

For example:

1. "When I worked for Verizon, I found the phrase going forward to be more sinister than annoying. When used by my boss - sorry, "team leader" - it was understood to mean that the topic of conversation was at an end and not be discussed again."
Nima Nassefat, Vancouver, Canada

2. "My employers (top half of FTSE 100) recently informed staff that we are no longer allowed to use the phrase brain storm because it might have negative connotations associated with fits. We must now take idea showers. I think that says it all really."
Anonymous, England

3. At my old company (a US multinational), anyone involved with a particular product was encouraged to be a product evangelist. And software users these days, so we hear, want to be platform atheists so that their computers will run programs from any manufacturer."
Philip Lattimore, Thailand

4. "Incentivise is the one that does it for me."
Karl Thomas, Perth, Scotland

5. "My favourite which I hear from the managers at the bank I work for is let's touch base about that offline. I think it means have a private chat but I am still not sure."
Gemma, Wolverhampton, England

As a stakeholder in this issue, I wouldn't want to wrongside the 2.0 demographic so let's conversate, drill down and incentivise a holistic approach to this challenge. We'll definitely need to pre-plan from the get-go in order to go forward together. After I get my ducks in a row, I'm actioning 110% of my effort to rid the world of office-speak once and for all.


Previously on Neatorama: The Origin of Words You Hear A Lot in the Office

haa haa office speak...I hear it all daily ...meh. For some reason people in our office point to things with their middle finger rather than using their (of course) pointer finger. I sense the passive aggressiveness mounting ever so slightly. Let's touch base on this tomorrow mmm kay? THANKS!
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The Empty "So"...as I dub it is when someone is explaining something, and they end their sentence with "so..."

Drives me nuts. So, what? Are they just too lazy to complete the sentence, or do they want me to finish it for them? "The sales form didn't have any signatures, so..." "So, I guess you're buying me lunch!"
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Ha ha, I can so empathize! Every time I see an article like this, it makes me glad I fled the corporate world when I did for a nice cozy spot back in grad school. I may be living off of Ramen noodles and have no room in my budget any more for gum, but at least I never have to hear words like "straw man" or "bandwidth" (as in, "do you have the bandwidth to take on this project?") any more.

The one that always made me twitch the most at my old job was "phenomenality," which got bandied about every time someone wanted to measure the success of a given project ("How high is it on the phenomenality scale?" *twitch twitch twitch*). I couldn't hear that word without launching into a bastardized version of the song "Ma Na Ma Nah" in my head ... doo doo de doo doo!
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25 yrs ago, the phrase was "state of the Art" instrumentation, or "state of the art" policy. Then it was "team player" as in, if you just roll over and agree with everyone's stupid ideas, then you're a "team player". Then of course, the time came that there were no more "problems", rather we started calling them "issues", as in, "she has issues with thus and such", or "the meeting will address issues about blah, blah blah". The word "problem" became verboten. Then "progressive" became cool. Damned good thing "brainstorm" hasn't been blacklisted at my workplace and replaced with "idea shower", otherwise I'd be on the unemployment line for uttering "WTF" a little too often in respond to all this insanity. We need a friggin' revolution.
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I'm so glad that I left all that behind to become a housewife. Yes, housewife, not domestic goddess, home maker, or any stupid PC terms that have cropped up over the years. I don't have issues, I don't need to go forward, and I certainly don't need to be a team player.
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I'm in marketing (so I'm really getting a kick out of these replies - Fark).

"going forward" makes sense. It's completely acceptable and anyone complaining about it is a picky and ridiculous person. A project is stalled or in review at a certain phase, so talking about how to help it "go forward" MAKES SENSE.

The other phrases which are completely nonindicative of their point or reference are, yes, stupid attempts to coin lingo and I haven't heard of the vast majority of them. This is an article intended to be exclusive without any actual frame of reference. What pointless complainy drivel.

It's time to toe the board, bite the bullet, lead the steer and take the fortress. HAH. Who cares? Get over yourself article author. Your so-called phrases are passing jargon. A month from now no one will bother with them.

The woman who wrote this just likes to complain.
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Carl - I can tell you like "going forward," but what is wrong with just saying, "from now on" or "in the future?" The phrase "going forward" is subtle doublespeak meant to imply the progress will be made by what is said next. And what is wrong with complaining anyway? ;-)
You should see what it is like at a software company (er, "solution" company). Instead of calling someone, we "ping" each other. We have conversations "on the front end" instead of at the beginning and "on the back end" instead of behind the scenes. We take conversations "offline" instead of talking about things later.
A few of my other favorite phrases (I collect these when bored at meetings):
Circle back around = Talk about this again
Close the loop = Finish something
getting tapped on the shoulder = chosen to do something
working in the war room = working sequestered in a conference room with a bunch of your unfortunate coworkers until something gets done.

I've got more, but I'll let you "wrap your head around these" for a little while. Maybe you can "example" some of your own. (Turning nouns into verbs seems to another big fad going forward).
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I forgot my favorite question I have ever heard at the office. In a presentation about project management, the presenter told us to ask ourselves, "What's your what's next?"
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Educators are just as bad. Got an email from my principal the other day, inviting the staff to a CONFRATUTE this summer. A what? There is no such word in the dictionary! IMHO, we have a hard enough time teaching students proper English as is; stop making up damn words.
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WillF you get the award for the most quotation marks used at the next company picnic. Dress warm! Oh and i kinda like "close the loop" as a euphemism for get er done.
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Makes sense that "Carl" would be in love with catch phrases and other nonsensical gibberish. After all, he's in MARKETING so it's his job to dream up all this glorious bullshit thereby forcing the rest of us in the real world to eat it. The fact that "Carl" supposedly hasn't heard of the bulk of these phrases also tells me he's been living under a rock for quite some time. Some advice dude: get a real job, take an "idea shower" and deal with your "issues". Until then, shut your pie hole.
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ugh, corporate office talk BS. Some of the women I know have this idealistic fantasy of working in a stuffy 'cozy' office setting. I can seem them now standing by water dispensers or coffee machines saying crap like "idea showers" and "let’s touch base about that offline" in a breath that reeks of sour coffee. All the while their work skirts and pantyhose reek of their sour smelling feces mingled with crotch sweat from sitting all day on their cubicle desk chair that reeks of collective ass.

I can see why that cubicle office guy went ballistic in that video. Probably went nuts from the smell of his own swamp ass and sour coffee breath or he finally 'seen the light'.
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I had taken a two week vacation while I was working for this company a few years back. Upon arriving back to work, my boss comes up to me and says, "how was your break? are you feeling refreshed?! energized?!" It's like those lines spoiled my time off by incorporating my vacation and time off with my work.
I just imagined then and there repeatedly bashing his face in with a stapler.
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oh god i hate "teamwork" and "team-player" SOO much. i understand the connection we're supposed to make with it, but JEEBUS! it's just an ideal image they want us to associate with..

Be a team player, golly-gee willikers!

hmmm.. How 'bout you go f*ck yourself and I'll collaborate with my co-workers instead.
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My Boyfriend and coworker spent an afternoon recently, emailing back and forth to each other in the dreaded corp speak. I condensed the emails into a website for a fake company call CORE TEK.


It's a great way to kill 10 minutes at the office... Be pro-active! Create synergy! Right-sizing is the key!
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