• Eve Arnold

Buzzwords That Will Get You Through Work— College Grads Guide

“Shall we park that for an offline conversation?”

Photo by Adeolu Eletu on Unsplash


If you’ve just entered the world of work this might not be familiar to you yet. If you’ve been in the world of work this will be all too familiar. So, in the interest of meeting two views in the middle, I thought it would insightful (and mostly just fun) to indulge in a little corporate jargon analysis. The working world has a language all of it’s own, and most of the time it makes no sense at all.

So this is a little look at how you can use language to your advantage in a time when you may not have much of a clue what is going on.

Think of this as my present, to you, something I would have wanted when I first started as a way of navigating the sea of meetings.

If the world of business is a liken to the 21st century war zone, language is our amunition. Not to be taken lightly, the way we say what we say is pretty much going to be the basis of your career. Don’t believe me? Well how else do you convey your message, showcase your work, prove your value? It’s all about communication. Words and phrases well, they are Childs play. Attitude, charisma and tone; those are the route to becoming your boss’s boss’s boss in one foul sweep (well actually it will take years but it sounds better saying it’ll happen immediately.)

So without fur-ado this is a whistle stop tour of words you can use, phrases you can regurgitate if you are in a time of need. When you actually feel like saying “I honestly have no idea what we are talking about or why I’m here” you can use these handy little phrase to help.

#1 We need to think about the bigger picture and where this sits in the organisation as a whole

I love this. It’s brilliant. And why is it so brilliant? Well, it can never be wrong can it? By saying this, it seems as though you have a strategic mind, as though you are concentrated on the bigger picture. You are not the type to get stuck in small details, they are too trivial for your huge, intelligent mind. You are someone who concentrates on big problems, you have a vision.

Or at least, people will think that and it’ll give you time to think about what you want for dinner.

#2 Could we park this for an offline conversation, it’s not pertinent to the agenda

Notice the lack of question mark, that’s because this isn’t a question.

Using fancy words seems to work. It gives the impression you are smart and know what you are talking about. We both know you don’t have a clue what’s going on but that is totally fine. Sticking to the agenda and being mindful of it shows that you have respect for this meeting and what it is trying to cover. It shows you are considerate and pragmatic.

It also allows you to get out of sticky conversations if you don’t know the answer.

#3 We need to concentrate on the objectives set out for the project initially

If things are getting a little off track in a project meeting, you can be the hero. A little phrase like the above can bring everyone back to the route of what this meeting is trying to achieve. It’s something you can throw in whenever you feel like things are getting off track and it will make people think you are focused. That you are passionate about pursing the project vision.

Again, it give anyone any inclination that you are thinking about how you’re not sure your brown shoes go with your blue trousers.

#4 What is the current appetite of the business as a whole?

I think what people mean by this is “does anyone give a shit if we deliver this, isn’t everyone concentrating on ‘x’ at the moment?”. But that doesn’t matter. These phrases don’t have make sense, in fact it’s better if they don’t. By saying this it makes you seem like you not the type to get stuck in the now, you are forward thinking and dynamic. Ohh, dynamic. People will see you as someone who thinks not only about the now, but about how this will be recieved. Real managerial potential.

No one will ever think you are the type to forget to brush your teeth in the morning.

#5 We need some blue sky thinking

Amongst my favourite ludicrous corporate sayings. It literally means nothing whatsoever but people seem to love this type of statement. Blue sky thinking essentially means, we need to think bigger, that the ideas that are being thought of aren’t going to ‘wow’ anyone.

Not that by saying this you are adding any value, not really. But again, that doesn’t matter.

#6 We need to think hollistically

This one I have no clue what this actually means. Google says thinking about something as a whole. I’m not sure how you can think of anything in any other way. Anyway, again, it doesn’t matter. It sounds good and that’s all it needs to do. It things are getting sticky and the meeting is starting to steer towards why you haven’t done something or why the part of the project you are in charge of isn’t delivering yet, you can simply say ‘we need to think holistically’. It’ll make it seem as if what you’re doing is just part of the bigger puzzle that you are all trying to solve. Together.

It’ll give you just enough time to say ‘Sorry I’ve got to take this important call’ and make your escape.

#Growth #Self #Work #Life #Business

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