Her email went something like this:

Dear Mr. X

We are currently facing some serious issues that will require outside the box thinking. We will need to apply some blue line thinking and gather our tiger team for a thought shower.

I know this is on your radar and we are singing from the same hymn sheet, however, we need to peel the onion and find a solution by close of play.

Yours sincerely etc……

By the time I had finished reading the second line, I already felt nauseous, by the end I was ready to vomit.

Why Do Business People Talk Such Gibberish?

There are a couple of reasons, business people use this kind of nonsensical language. Firstly, they want to sound more intelligent and therefore use inflated terminology which is ultimately meaningless. Secondly, many try to put themselves on a higher level than their colleagues or clients. Lastly, they feel they have to if they want to climb the corporate ladder.

Sadly, a lot of business people don’t even know how to use their gibberish properly or what it actually means.

To me, it’s all a lot of posturing and arrogance.

The Top 10 Annoying Business Phrases of 2016

Let’s just take a look at some of the most irritating business speak. Some of the phrases are in the email above:

The following ten phrases were voted “most annoying” by 2000 business travellers:

  1. Touch Base Offline: This is a scream-inducing way of saying, let’s meet face to face and talk.
  2. Blue Sky Thinking: Blue sky thinking denotes thinking creatively about a problem and doing so without any restrictions.
  3. Punch a Puppy: When you punch a puppy, you carry out an undesirable action for the benefit of the business.
  4. Thought Shower: Thought shower is the new “brainstorming”, i.e. gathering in a group and coming up with ideas.
  5. Thinking Outside the Box: Coming up with new, innovative thoughts and strategies.
  6. It’s on My Radar: Letting your counterpart know you are aware of an issue.
  7. Close of Play: By the end of the workday.
  8. Singing From the Same Hymn Sheet: Agreeing on an issue.
  9. Peel the Onion: Examine an issue in great detail.
  10. To Wash its Own Face: Something that pays for itself or justifies itself.

You might now understand my aversion toward business speak. Let me just give you some more real gems:

  • Burning the Platform: Describing a business in difficulties.
  • Core Values: Often used to make a business sound ever so ethical, however by now, you will just sound silly using this type of jargon.
  • Best Practice: This gibberish is often used by consulting firms claiming to have a solution to all your problems and to know it all!
  • Ducks in a Row: This is another way of saying you have a plan. Not sure is it fair on the cute little guys!
  • Ecosystem: Ecosystem is used to describe the different departments working together in a firm.

The list of silly phrases is endless, I’m afraid. Unfortunately, outsiders are often impressed, even though there is little real substance to this kind of terminology. The best and most intelligent business people don’t use this kind of language, though sadly, they say that this is the kind of talk you hear in two-thirds of corporations nowadays.

I say, let’s just stop it and use plain, meaningful, easy-to-understand language that everyone can appreciate. If you are worried about your career prospects and feel you have to speak gibberish, think again. I used to throw in the odd bit of jargon until I got sick of it. I stopped and the world didn’t end and I didn’t even lose my job!

To go back to the beginning of this post, let’s send the same email in plain language:

“Dear Mr. X

We are currently facing some serious issues that need to be carefully looked at. It is necessary to try and come up with new ways of overcoming these problems. Let’s get our computer team working on it too.

I know you are aware of the current difficulties and we agree on the issue, however, we should try to analyse the problems in detail and try to find a solution before the end of today.

Yours sincerely etc……”

Now that wasn’t so difficult, was it???