Thursday, October 18, 2007

"Corporate Speak" Translation Cheat Sheet

For those of you who have ever worked in a corporate office or for a large company, here is a cheat sheet of common "Corporate Speak". Thanks to BFF BenWu for this...

Phrase 1: "We need to get signoff on this"
Translation: "No one here, including myself, has the grapefruits to sign our names to any sort of binding resolution. So, fearing for our jobs, we should instead agree to pass this to someone with more authority so they can take the fall if this plan goes awry."

Phrase 2: "What are the key takeaways from this meeting?"
Translation: "We've basically sat around talking for the last hour and we still really have no idea what we've been talking about. So in order to explain to our superiors where we've been for all this time, let's use the next 30 seconds to pound out a few bullet points that we can neatly put into email format for wide distribution."

Phrase 3: "Let's take this discussion offline"
Translation: "None of the people talking right now really knows what we're saying. So to save us further embarrassment in front of our peers, let's publicly state that we are going to discuss this topic at another time while silently agreeing to never speak of it again."

Phrase 4: "Do we need to escalate this?"
Translation: See translation of Phrase 1

Phrase 5: "Let's have a quick breakout session after this meeting"
Translation: "I'm not completely done with hearing myself talk and I want to extend this meeting with a few unfortunate victims whereby we will scribble some random ideas onto a page, in an homage to the high school brainstorming session." (Note: this is a distant cousin of Phrase 3.)

Phrase 6: "Let's wait until we are able to complete a deep dive into the data"
Translation: "I'm not ready to tell you anything of relevance. Yet, instead of rescheduling this meeting and sparing everyone's time, I decided to save face and repeat a bunch of watered down statements over and over until time expires and I finish my latte."

Phrase 7: "We have to make some business decisions in accordance with our strategic plan"
Translation: "We're about to lay off a lot of people. So hold off on making any big purchases because you're probably better off holding on to your money right now. But in the meantime, we'll let you twist in the wind while capitalizing on your fear of being fired by asking you to work an obscene amount of hours."

Phrase 8: "We're approaching the go/no go point"
Translation: "I'm getting nervous. You all should be nervous too and this is my way of letting you know. It's time to stall until one of the higher ups steps in and takes charge. Can someone pass me that list of corporate phrases?"
Hope you enjoyed these!


Anonymous said...

Yup-this is pretty much what the guys in my office sound like everyday.

TWISI said...

So true!

Anonymous said...

My personal fav line comes from Phrase #1:

"No one here, including myself, has the grapefruits to sign our names to any sort of binding resolution."

So true...

-Ben Wu

Canadian flake said...

omg wayyyyyyy too funny...thanks for

Biddie said...


Steven said...

Hearing it too at Village Hall. Particularly with the Trustees who don't have the balls to vote on a matter at Village Board meetings. I could be guilty few. :-)

snowelf said...

HAHAHA!! This is the freakin' funniest thing I've read all day! I'm SO glad you posted this!! I totally needed a laugh. :)


rhodester said...

How very DILBERT of you, Rick!

whimsicalnbrainpan said...

Quite accurate.

HoosierGirl5 said...

These are very good. You have inspired me to do a post on "education-speak", very similar to your "business-speak".

Look for it in a couple of days.

Great post, as usual.



thank you for reminding me of all the things I don't miss from CorpassAmer....makes me glad to be an at homer. :)

Matt said...

Yes ... this is my world. I wish I had the AUTHORITY (in the Grand Poobahs' eyes) to say "Fine, I'VE got the grapefruits, just freaking get it done and move forward!!!"

Unfortunately I'm in no position to exhibit my grapefruits, apparently.

Desert Songbird said...

I left the corporate life almost 12 years ago when my daughter was born. {Sigh.) I really don't miss it. Thanks for the reminder.

Sheila said...

I will be clueless if I happen to find a corporate job. My background has been in nonprofit settings.

katherine. said...

I had to laugh...even if I am fluent in "corporate speak"

tiff said...

This sould be required reading for all young aspiring corporate lackeys.

Off to grow some grapefruits now!


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