We can all agree — corporate jargon is the worst.
There are phrases in emails that make us all cringe, like the dreaded “as per my last email” or capitalizing letters or even whole words. There are words like “just” or “sorry” that make professionals look weak, according to some. There are even words that you might be using wrong entirely without even knowing.
But have you ever wondered if you’re the only one annoyed when other employees say they’ll run a task “up the flag poles”? You’re not alone, according to a new study.
Go.Verizon.com recently surveyed 1,000 men and women in the workforce to get their stance and usage of common office jargon. For workers in the US, the most annoying office term used at work was “analysis paralysis,” according to the study. “Analysis paralysis” is an idiom that refers to overthinking which stymies production.
Another phrase — “I’ll ping you” — also annoyed many workers, especially women. Nearly a quarter of female respondents said they weren’t a fan of the phrase and they favored every other phrase over that one.
Other weird phrases that peeved workers included “boil an ocean”, which means to take on an impossible task or project. Over 70% of men and women both refrained from using the term. In addition, “Behind the 8 ball,” which refers to taking on an impossible project, was also not popular amongst workers.
What employees want to hear
When looking at the big picture, employees favor, well, the “Big Picture.”
Forty percent of respondents said the phrase was welcomed in the office. More than a third of respondents welcomed “all hands on deck,” which refers to when there’s a call for additional crew members to come to the deck of a ship during a time when there’s a need more hands.
Phrases like “bring to the table” and “go all in” were also received well by employees, while “out-of-the-box” rounded out the top five most favored phrases by employees, according to the survey.
A glossary of corporate jargon
Thinking about rallying your employees up for a pep talk? Perhaps one of these phrases can be applied:
30,000-foot view: To look at the overall goals and objectives rather than small details.
Action-item: A take-away task that needs to be completed in the near future.
All hands on deck: All employees are needed to complete a project.
Analysis paralysis: Overthinking a situation to the point that nothing actually gets accomplished.
Back-end: Essential work that goes into the creation of a product that a customer doesn’t see.
Bandwidth: Referring to the amount of time someone has available to spend.
Behind the 8 ball: Referring to being in a difficult situation.
Big Picture: The ultimate goal or main idea.
Boil an ocean: To take on an impossible project or task.
Bring to the table: Referring to the skills or value that someone can bring to your company.
Buy-in: Accepting or committing to an idea or course of action.
Change agent: A person who is the catalyst for business improvements or innovation.
Circle back: The notion to revisit a topic at a later time.\
Deck: Shorthand for a set of PowerPoint presentation slides.
Deep dive: To look at the details of a project closely.
Disconnect (as a noun): A situation where expectations differ from reality.
Disruptive: Referring to the process of changing existing technology with something new.
Dot your i’s and cross your t’s: To be detail oriented and thorough in your tasks.
Drill down: To look further into the matter or get more details.
Go all in: To put all of your energy or resources into something.
Heavy lifting: Bearing the burden of the most difficult and time-consuming work on a project.
High level: To explain a concept without getting into the small, technical details.
Holistic overview: To take into account other external factors that can affect an outcome.
I’ll ping you: Send someone a message using an online messaging system.
I’ll run that up the flagpole: Moving the project on to the next appropriate person for approval.
Ideate: To think of and came up with new ideas.
In the weeds: When a task is too hard to accomplish because there are too many problems involved.
KPIs: Key Performance Indicators; points used to evaluate the performance of something or someone.
Learning (as a noun): Knowledge gained from a conversation or past project.
Leverage: Manipulating a situation so someone can control it in their favor.
Low-Hanging fruit: Tasks that are easy to accomplish or problems that can be easily solved that provide clear benefits.
Onboarding: Assimilating a new employee into an organization; introducing service to new customers.
Out-of-the-box: An idea that is unusual or new.
Put a pin in it: To delay discussion, engagement, or work on a project to another time.
Quick win: Something that can be done quickly that will provide a beneficial outcome.
Reinvent the wheel: To redo an existing process, idea, or way of thinking.
ROI: “Return on Investment” i.e. whether something is worth it.
Stack hands: To imply that every team member is in it together.
Sync up: To meet with someone and touch base on an idea or topic.
Take it offline: To discuss something with someone in a separate time and place.
Touch base: To meet or talk with something about a specific issue.
Value-add: Benefits of a feature that provides value to customers.
Where/when the rubber meets the road: The time or place at which something matters the most.
Wordsmithing: To change, edit, or make a play on words.