Business jargon - interactive lesson
Exercise 1 - See if you can match these expressions with their meanings. Use the drop down selectors, and then click on 'Check answers'
|1.||Blue-sky thinking||a||Looking to the future|
|2.||Get your ducks in a row||b||To tell everything you know about a particular topic|
|3.||Brain dump||c||Improve performance by going beyond commonly accepted boundaries|
|4.||Think outside the box||d||Idealistic or visionary ideas - not always with practical application|
|5.||Joined-up thinking||e||Have arrangements efficiently ordered|
|6.||Drill down||f||Get more detail about a particular issue|
|7.||Push the envelope||g||An overview|
|8.||The helicopter view||h||Taking into account how things affect each other - not looking at something in isolation|
|9.||Low-hanging fruit||i||Don't limit your thinking to within your job description; be creative|
|10.||Going forward||j||The easiest targets|
Note that several simple words can sound better than a single 'verbified' verb. Or you can try using a different word instead. Eg influence instead of impact
Look at these verbs, all relatively recent adaptations of nouns, and at how they are used in context.
|action||action||could you all action this ASAP?|
|incentive||incentivize||we need to incentivize the staff|
|priority||prioritize||you should prioritize your tasks|
|money||monetize||how can I monetize this blog?|
|impact||impact||how will this impact the business?|
|favorite||favorite||this video has been favorited three times|
|task||task||I've been tasked with bringing coffee to the meeting.|
|decision||decision||we're decisioning that right now.|
Exercise 2 - Now look at these noun constructions. Which noun goes with which construction?
|1.||put things into order of|
|2.||be given the of doing something|
|3.||be added to somebody's list of|
|4.||make from something|
|5.||have a(n) on somebody, something|
|6.||give a(n) to somebody|
|7.||take / make a|
|8.||put something into|
Leverage - note that this word now has several different meanings
- The action or advantage of using a lever
- The power to influence people and get the results you want. It is used a lot in this sense when talking about negotiations , and has been for a long time.
- a) The use of various financial instruments to increase the potential return of an investment.
b) The amount of debt used to finance a firm's assets
The verb as technical jargon
- over-leveraged - has borrowed too much money and cannot make payments on the debt
- de-leverage - try to get out of debt 
- leveraged buy-out - to use borrowed money to buy a company 
The verb as buzzword
Some funny buzzwords
Exercise 3 - Try and match the words on the left with their definitions. Click on 'Check answers' when you've finished.
Where to find them
Words such as prioritize, and expressions such as paradigm shift have crept into the Business English course books, so unfortunately we're stuck with them too.
One man's meat is another man's poison 
Yesterday's buzzwords are commonplace today
Links and Sources
- BBC News - Workplace jargon 'isolates staff'
- The Telegraph - Councils told to ditch meaningless jargon
- BBC News - Lucy Kellaway's campaign to ditch 'going forward'
- BBC News Magazine - 50 office-speak phrases you love to hate
- Buzzwords 4
- Wikipedia - Leverage in negotiations
- Investopedia - Leverage
- Investopedia - Deleverage
- Investopedia - Leveraged buyout
- MBA Jargon Watch - "Where business jargon goes to die" (very funny comments)
- TheOfficeLife - "The Ridiculous Business Jargon Dictionary" (very comprehensive)
- Buzzwords 4 - (very creative)
- Wikipedia - List of buzzwords
- Wikipedia - Buzzword Bingo
- YouTube - Buzzword Bingo
- Bullshit Bingo - Cards for Buzzword (aka Bullshit) Bingo
- Free Dictionary - One man's meat is another man's poison