Sound Off

Open Thread: Let's Talk About This "Offline"

Today on the show, we talked about the most annoying office jargon. The BBC just published their list "50 Office-Speak Phrases You Love to Hate," and "going forward," "loop back," "I've got you in my radar" and "product evanglist" all made the list.

My personal favorite is "Lets talk about this offline." What does this mean? Are the rest of our conversations "online?" I've noticed that people tend to say this in meetings when they want to discuss something in a smaller group at a later date, but I highly doubt they mean a conversation over the internet.

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Just heard it in a conference call: "So, can one of you own this so we can move on it?" Hate it.

Sent by T. Weiss | 2:54 PM | 6-19-2008

Without a doubt, it was "paradigm shift." First of all, it didn't know was a paradigm, let alone that it shifted..

One I've used myself --I'm embarassed to admit-- is to tell someone, "we don't build the haystack, but we point out where the needles are." That might still be local to my office, where I hope it goes away.

Sent by Matthew C. Scallon | 3:08 PM | 6-19-2008

I am totally with you on "let's talk about this offline." Last year, I started a list of office jargon that makes me cringe. Also on my list:

Strategize
Talking points
Functionality
Utilize
E-Blast
Feedback
Stakeholders
Repurpose
Synergize
Proactive
Troubleshoot
Debrief
Piggyback
Pushback

Sent by Michelle | 3:10 PM | 6-19-2008

Maybe office jargon is the "special sauce" of corporate productivity.

Sent by Ken | 3:35 PM | 6-19-2008

I agree with Michelle - I really hate the word "utilize." Or pretty much any work-related "ize" word.

I actually like the "talking offline" phrase, only because somehow it seem less rude than telling someone, "Let's talk about that later."

My own #1 office-speak pet peeve - people who call web content categories "buckets." No, we don't have "buckets" of content. (Sorry, this is specific to web design, but it feels good to get it off my chest..)

Sent by bb | 3:40 PM | 6-19-2008

How about "eating our own dogfood". This is used at my company to refer to the act of using (internal to the company) the same products that we sell to our customers. Of course that phrase has now been shortened to simply "dogfooding" -- which I like even less.

Sent by Brian DeHamer | 3:46 PM | 6-19-2008

I find it very annoying when every negative event is called an "opportunity", as in an opportunity to improve, or an opportunity to identify issues. While I appreciate that this is a positive approach problems, it is so overused.

Sent by jb | 4:22 PM | 6-19-2008

This reminds me of a Dilbert comic where they play office-buzzword Bingo... All it takes is a couple of willing coworkers and a supervisor that won't shut up! :-)

Sent by Dan | 4:44 PM | 6-19-2008

"Net net," which seems to mean "in summary";
"Drink the Kool-Ade," which just shows a horrible tin ear; and
"Walk the talk," which . . . just shut up.

Sent by meganc | 1:26 AM | 6-20-2008

The ones that make me cringe:
ping
resources (when talking about people)
pipeline
to make a long story short (20 minutes over the end of a meeting)
bandwidth
drill down
follow back

Gaaah, just typing that made me cringe.

Sent by Sarah | 1:29 PM | 6-20-2008

I actually like "low hanging fruit." Ideas for moving forward are often just ridiculously complex and unlikely to succeed. I like constantly checking, are we doing the simple easy things that will pay off?

Sent by Mike | 4:36 PM | 6-20-2008

One word: leverage.

Sent by Kristin Whitman | 6:04 PM | 6-20-2008

Maybe you all just need to start "thinking outside the box."

Sent by April | 7:07 PM | 6-20-2008

"From a _____ perspective" just drives me insane. "So, from a product perspective, what is the status?" What the heck is a product perspective? Does an inanimate object have a perspective? Argggghhh!

Sent by Kristasphere | 7:02 AM | 6-21-2008

My personal favorite is "let's get on board with this people", I always picture our office racing up the gangplank of a giant cruise ship laptops in hand.

Sent by Moira Kenney | 10:45 AM | 6-23-2008

The phrase I hate is "drill down", i.e. "if you want to drill down further into the data you'll see that....."

Sent by Chuck | 11:30 AM | 6-25-2008