Let’s talk business

Today’s topic: “Fake it until you make it.”

There I was: first day at a new job and already a meeting. I barely had time to wet my feet, but I was brimming with confidence made possible by a sharp attire and over-gelled hair. Besides, I’ve led business meetings before — how hard could it be to just sit in one?

Turn out it’s impossibly hard, with all the corporate jargons peppered in the conversation.

I spent the last three years as a Health Journalist, so I’m familiar with medical terms. I know enough to bullshit my friends with a baseless diagnosis (“That’s a scary rash. It might be lupus”). But this business talk? This had my brain smoking. It’s like hearing someone suddenly break into “Simsimish”, or an alien language — and everyone in the room but you understands.

That was 2 months ago. Now, I get what people are saying 80% of the time. The 20% that leaves me dumbfounded, I just smile, nod and start responding to the natives in their local dialect, spewing the few corporate phrases I know until we come to an understanding (or they walk away, freaked out).

See? Say it with enough confidence, and you’re good to go.

Here are some of the most perplexing (at times, obnoxious) business jargons I’ve encountered:

My “Top 5 Most Perplexing Business Jargons”

5. “Cadence”

What you think it is: The march of a soldier  (Ex: “Private Santiago’s cadence was to the tune of Psy’s ‘Gentleman’, that’s why he is being transferred immediately.”)

What it actually means: A poetic term that simply means a repeat meeting.

4. “Loop in”

What you think it is: A term used in the competitive sport of Needle Threading (Ex: “Our contender only has one more thread to loop in before becoming the World Needling Champion.”)

What it actually means: Inviting someone to join a meeting, and informing him/her about the latest updates. Basically to CC a person.

3. “Cascade”

What you think it is: A color-matching game like Candy Crush (Ex: “I love playing Cascade. Matching same-colored tiles is not at all racist!”)

What it actually means: To disseminate information to other members of your department. Usually done by the boss towards her subordinates.

2. “From the Get-go”

What you think it is: Another band’s attempt to come across “quirky” by using this as their band name. (Ex: “From the Get-go’s song ‘How Can Colors be real if Eyes are Not’ tops the billboard charts for the 7th consecutive week.”)

What it actually means: From the start. Say this instead. It’s more economical and sounds less pretentious.


And the ABSOLUTE WORST term ever:

1. “Open the kimono”

What you think it means: Something a drunk, perverted boss says before sexually assaulting a waitress at a Japanese restaurant. (Ex: “Under any circumstance, do NOT use ‘Open the Kimono’ as a business jargon.”)

What it actually means: A big reveal. That’s it.

Seriously, you could have just said the better version and saved yourself the trouble of giving off a creepy, rape-y vibe. Thankfully, haven’t heard “Open the Kimono” being used in the office yet. Still, just imaging it makes me want to take a cold shower. Disturbingly inappropriate.


What business jargon do you most hate and why?


One thought on “Let’s talk business

  1. Pingback: Business Writing | AnjumsList

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