Thursday, August 11, 2005

Leveraging Businesspeak

Business jargon: we hates them. So does Fortune, which is one of the best-written and most consistently critical of business publications in the country. Fortune writer Anne Fisher feeds my loathing with this looong list of hated business terms. All the good ones are there: "bottom line" when used out of context; "going forward" when (as a reader says), "What else would we do? Go back in time?"; "reference" as a verb, "bandwidth" when applied to human beings.

The list includes a couple terms I haven't heard, such as "one off" meaning "privately" (a very stupid one), but it doesn't include some terms which I hear allthefreakingtime around here, including "leverage" (meaning, simply, to make use of, rather than to multiply power with a tool), "silo" (a body of knowledge or discrete set of responsibilities: "we have to start building bridges between our teams' silos") and "off-line" (privately, or at least not in a meeting: "let's talk off-line about that issue"). But then, I suppose they had to trim the list somewhere. After all, as an erstwhile colleague here once said, "we don't want to overly complex this."

I'd love to hear others' most-hated businesspeak terms, or just horrible jargon from your workplace. Something about the cringing makes me feel alive.

(Thanks to Laddie for the link!)