Farewell, 2017’s jargon

Here’s a Christmas tree made from business jargon, HR-speak and general nonsense that I’ve collected throughout 2017. Some phrases, such as ‘end of play’ may not be new – but they’re still in use. Other words and phrases are new – at least to my eyes and ears.

So what?

Here’s a little plea: can we all resolve, please, to use less of this language in 2018?

I can’t plead complete innocence here: whilst trawling the web for ‘most irritating jargon’, finding ‘actionable’ upset me momentarily (it’s a pet Zoomly word, and features strongly in ‘The Feedback Book’).

Other examples prompted glee and delight: ‘chime in’ is a particular pet hate, as is ‘double down’ (what on earth is ‘double down’ meant to mean? The opposite of ‘single up’? Nope. Makes no sense whatsoever).

As for ‘ideation’ and ‘thought shower’ – these owe their origins to people being anxious to avoid offence (which point I respect) and badly failing to come up with anything sufficiently clear to replace ‘brainstorm’.

‘Onboarding’ could be inferred to accurately reflect what can all too often happen if the process of what I’d call ‘induction’ or good old ‘welcome’ isn’t quite right: someone is no longer ‘on board’ – but overboard. But this is nowhere near as irritating as ‘de-layering’ – hmmm… wonder what that really means? Oh, and let’s not forget that 2017 has seen a few high-profile cases of ‘ITL’, meaning ‘Invited To Leave’.

Meanwhile, you can have some fun with this word cloud:

  • Copy and print it then discreetly hand it colleagues who use too much jargon in meetings.
  • Use the words to play ‘jargon bingo’ (polite term) with colleagues in meetings.
  • See how much of the jargon you can squeeze into your next email, document or presentation without anyone noticing. Warning: this might get dangerously competitive…

Did I hear someone say ‘bifurcate’? That’s one you’re going to have to look up.

Happy Christmas

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Dawn is the author of ‘The Feedback Book’, available now at bookstores and on Amazon.

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