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Deciphering Corporate Speak

Those of you working for smaller, private companies may not have been exposed to the vernacular I am about to rant about. The same may hold true for government employees. But for whatever reason, when you get into a company with 10,000+ employees with shareholders, etc. you end up speaking a different language. A new website, Unsuck-It has come to the rescue to help you decipher these words and phrases so that you will understand what the person is REALLY trying to say. Here are a few examples:

Drink the Kool-Aid – Meaning to follow blindly. I assume the origin from this was the Hale-Bopp comet people that all drank poisoned Kool-Aid thinking they were going to join aliens on the tail of the comet. If nothing else, they left quite the legacy on corporate America.  Update: Drew corrects me via comments that “but the origin is from the mass suicide in Jonestown, Guyana in 1978 when Jim Jones convinced his followers to drink poisoned Kool-Aid.”

Disambiguate – doesn’t clarify sound so much better? I actually used this word in a meeting yesterday to poke at someone else’s overuse of flowery language.

Operationalize – make it work. Could you imagine if management actually said you need to make something work? That would sound like they had a product that didn’t work. Hmm….

Social Media Strategy – Hahahaha. Defined as “Typing into text areas.” So true. I’m reminded of our social media guidelines at work, and the minor uproar they caused.

And my favorite: Ping Me – I recently said this to someone and haven’t heard from her since. Coincidence? Further proof that you should avoid corporate speak in all of your conversations with non-co-workers. Check out Unsuck-It and see what words and phrases you should be avoiding.

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