Quite often we come across people in offices who pretend to be busier than they are, who like to exude an aura of importance when they’re in lowly positions, and have business cards with pompous-sounding designations far removed from the work they really do. You can bet they also speak Business English, which was once a term for language that called for simple and direct communication, English with its sleeves rolled up for action. Now it’s the opposite, with confusing jargon and obfuscating ‘beating round the bush’ phrases.
It is bad enough that nouns are verbalised (“action that e-mail!”) or vice versa (“our first slide asks a question, and the reveal will be in the next”); descriptions of simple actions are couched in the loftiest of language. Here is a smattering:
Producing statistics is ‘numbercrunching’; a new product you’ve launched that steals business from one you’re already selling is ‘cannibalising’; and you’re no longer bogged down in details, but ‘executionally oriented’. In an earlier, simpler era if you identified a problem, you put your finger on it; now you ‘definitise’. You like the coolness of that ‘-ise’ ending? Try the term for ‘to see it all clearly’ – it’s to ‘holistically perpetualise’.
Any office worker is an executive, and his or her assistant is therefore an executive secretary or administrative assistant; a planner becomes a strategic conceptualiser and someone who speaks to you is an interlocutor. And at the end of it all, if ‘profit motive’ is too coarse a term (surely, we’re not in it for the money), we would call it bottom-line thinking.
Are you smart and educable? If so, you have a high learning-curve situation capability, but you won’t just work with what you have, you’ll leverage your strengths and weaknesses, and need to surround yourself with support data – context (note the verbalisation).
Of course, this means avoiding anything that wasteful, I mean to say duplicative, and capable of handling any situation, including an industrial accident and similar unanticipated transients; but if there’s only this gobbledygook to show for it without substantiated performance, by any guess (oops, ballpark estimate) we wouldn’t be finished, but to heck with it (finalise, anyone?).