10 annoying corporate phrases that are sure to 'move your needle'
Sick and tired of hearing the same business nonsense in your workplace team briefings ? Here is a list of the 10 business phrases that need to be outlawed immediately. Carry these up the strategic staircase and give our banifesto some hang time in your next team huddle.
1. Best-in-class - does your boss have experience in rearing cattle in the nutrient-rich American prairies? Or perhaps she is a a thoroughbred racehorse owner with connections to a famous breeding stable? No? Then why in god's name is she using this phrase in her PowerPoint presentation to describe your company's tedious box-ticking internal communications strategy.
2. Full plate - used to imply that the person simply can't take on any more work. Unfortunately, the image you have in your head is of the same person stuffing a full naan bread with bits of chicken madras and rice dripping out of the sides into their huge mouth at the last works' evening out at the Golden Bengal. Counter their 'full plate' claim by taking an Alan Partridge sized all-you-can-eat buffet plate, hidden underneath your jacket, into every meeting, bringing it out and offering it to them every time they use this fatuous analogy.
3. Sweet Spot – perhaps someone in your management team has experience of playing tennis at a professional level, and thus recognises that joyous feeling of a hitting a crisp volley at just the right point of tension slightly above the centre-middle of the racquet. No? Your boss is sullying your image of Steffi Graf at the net by using it to describe how the stock market has gone up slightly in the last few days. Respond to every use of this phrase by screaming 'You cannot be serious!', whilst breaking your laptop in two over your knee.
4. Reach Out - The Four Tops Reached Out, and They Were There. Diana Ross Reached Out and Touched Somebody’s Hand. Now Mike, your sweaty-lipped team leader, is asking you all in a meeting - with a completely straight face - to Reach Out if you have any queries about the flow chart of actions for the call-centre technologies convention in Swindon that you are organising next month. This one is definitely not going platinum anytime soon.
5. Move the needle. Designed to evoke the image of a seismometer picking up huge earthquake tremors, your regional sales manager has decided to use this to convey his ridiculously overambitious aspirations for the relaunch of the shitty plastic moulding for car windows that your company has been peddling for the last 25 years. Play along by recreating the classic Jurassic Park scene where the dinosaurs are thundering up behind the car and the drinks on the dashboard start moving, by shaking your water bottle and shouting 'Get out, run!!' whenever your boss uses this phrase.
6. Double-click - designed to give the impression of being tech-savvy, this means focussing in more closely on something. If anyone asks you to double click on something, just stare forward and respond in a robotic voice repeatedly saying ‘Error 404. Page Not Found. Error 404. Page Not Found'
7. Gain traction – Was your boss previously a farmer, struggling to plough heavy and often wet fields in an old John Deere tractor? Or maybe he spent a winter in rural Sweden, and had to learn how to use snow tyres during the winter months to expertly get from his house to the nearest town in a Volvo. No? Then please ask him to stop using this phrase to describe making a laughably miniscule amount of progress on a slightly difficult task, like ordering some new stationery supplies.
8. Bring in the SWAT team - Wow, so your boss is bringing in a team of consultants for a few days to help you guys out with implementing your new marketing plan. Yawn. Unless they are going to abseil down from the rooftop, smash in through the windows and ask everyone to get on the floor and keep their Strengths-Weaknesses-Opportunities and Threats matrices where everyone can see them, then this analogy has absolutely no place in the office.
9. Let this idea percolate for a while - really, your boss doesn't like whatever idea has just been suggested, and wants to kick it into the long grass. Making you all think of a nice cup of strong coffee from your local artisan cafe is a clever way of distracting you from this harsh truth. Hmmm, maybe you'll have a croissant with it, and one of those biscotti. Sorry, what were we talking about.
10. Boil the ocean - sorry, we have absolutely no idea what this means either.