Business jargon is good. There, we’ve said it.
OK, so we once thought otherwise (that post actually dates back to 2002) and had fun at its expense. But it’s time to take a fresh look. Particularly because the annual procession of flimsy PR campaigns built on lazy digs at the latest business phrase (see here, and here for examples) is getting really dull.
And also because it’s a bit like the Dawkinsian view of religion, with its unavoidable subtext that all practitioners are stupid. Yes, there are some daft people in corporate life — but no more so than anywhere else.
Why should we now embrace office jargon? Because it’s nothing more than useful shorthand, ensuring that things are quickly communicated and understood. Take ‘reach out’, as in ‘I’ll reach out to Jim about this’. *God* I hate that phrase. However it means a lot more than just ‘contact’; and a little bit more than ‘get in touch with’. It’s actually quite handy, if you can bear to use it – and in a largeish organisation, once everyone’s accepted it, it no longer grates. Only when such terms escape into the outside world do they cause alarm.
Check out this list of business-speak terms, found in an idle Google search. The ‘translations’ clearly show that many of the dreaded buzzphrases are pretty efficient at conveying meaning. Whilst I’m no fan of ‘low-hanging fruit’, it’s surely preferable to ‘the bits that can be done quickly and easily but still have an effect.’
Are we jumping the shark? Net net, I’d say we’re just going forward.