By Chip Cutter, AP Business Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — At the end of the day, it's important to achieve a win-win solution. Be sure to think outside the box to demonstrate thought leadership. And harness key learnings to change the game on that mission-critical project.
Confused? You have company. Many workers say they're fed up with business jargon and corporate buzzwords.
Every industry has its own lingo. In technology, employees use "bandwidth" in conversations that have nothing to do with the Internet, saying things like, "I don't have the bandwidth to deal with this situation."
In finance, workers toss about terms such as "best-in-breed" when referring to investments. And young attorneys at large law practices like to say they're "underwater" when they're busy, said Bob Knaier, a senior associate at a San Diego firm.
"It's a nice example of how attorneys want to make things sound much more drastic than they are," Knaier said. "'I'm not just busy, but my life is at stake; I'm drowning in work.'"
Business speak does have some up sides, for example, creating a sense of camaraderie among co-workers. But many people still feel it can go a bit too far. Here are some tips for coping with the babble:
UNDERSTAND WHY PEOPLE USE IT
Business people use jargon, thinking they're showing off their intelligence or trying to win respect from their peers, even if it doesn't work that way, said Michael Sebastian, a Web editor at Ragan Communications, a Chicago-based publishing and training company.
Others turn to jargon to avoid offending people or appearing politically incorrect, said Chelsea Hardaway, the co-author of "Why Business People Speak Like Idiots."
So they'll use terms such as "right sizing" for layoffs. Or, Hardaway said, "my plate's pretty full," is a way workers avoid saying they'd "rather die than take on your project."
Jargon can come out of pop culture, too. Business people may not want to acknowledge that much of their work consists of mundane phone calls and e-mails. So, they'll glamorize their tasks by using terms such as "mission critical" or "centers of excellence," she said, to make every project sound like a "James Bond mission."
Of course, jargon often muddles a point and forces people to explain themselves in simple terms. It can also lead to situations where entire offices fear saying anything real, Hardaway said.