Business Jargons to Avoid Right Now!

By Mel Sim

There’s no circling back if you use these…

There’s all this talk about being a good communicator, especially when it comes to work. And then there’s all this talk about business lingo that everyone seems to be using… and maybe not even understanding what they mean!

The problem with jargons is that the definition can be unclear for many people. While you may know what bandwidth means (and we don’t mean the technological use of this term), the person you’re communicating with might be thinking, “What? What is she trying to say?” Also, business jargons tend to beat around the bush, and you are better off just focusing on using words that deliver the message loud and clear.

What are some business jargons to steer clear of right now? See if you know any of these (or if you are guilty of using them!).

“One throat to choke”
Hang on, do people still use this? Not only does it sound crude but really, what does it mean? Believe it or not, it is an expression used in business to describe the advantage of purchasing goods or services from a single vendor. That way, when something goes wrong, there is only “one throat to choke” so to speak. Fortunately, this business jargon was popular a decade ago and not used so much these days. But you know how it is with things coming back in fashion… by all means, let’s hope this doesn’t make its round back because cringe!

“Mission critical”
What mission and why is it critical? What it means when someone says something is mission critical, it is essential to the project’s success. It could be a tool, an idea, or basically anything! And what makes something “mission critical”? A better way to understand why something is important is to say it is essential and necessary, which is more direct and focused. Plus, it’s hard to take something seriously when you say words like “mission critical”.

“Do you have the bandwidth?”
To be honest, the first thing I heard this I was like, “Eh?” Why are we talking about an Internet thing when the project has nothing to do with bandwidths or how fast your connection is. Confused like me? Basically, bandwidth here means capability/time/ability. When someone says it, what that person is asking is if you can fit in that request in your already tight schedule. So why not just say it that way – can you work on this or are you swamped with other things? Now, doesn’t that sound more direct and more importantly, something you understand?

“We need to ideate for this new project”
Believe it or not, ideate is a very old word, mostly used to discuss Plato’s philosophy. And it should stay there in the 1600s, and not in today’s offices! Ideate in fact has been voted on the worst business jargons out there. What you should say instead? “Let’s meet to discuss this further.”

“Low hanging fruit”
You wouldn’t think a phrase like this wouldn’t exist in the business world but oh it does! The definition is pretty straightforward – low fruits are easy to pick so in the business world, when someone says, “Let’s go after the low hanging fruit”, it basically means let’s do the easiest task first. Now, wouldn’t it be better to just say that instead of using this idiom?

“Boil the ocean”
You can’t boil the ocean, right? So when people use this in a business setting, they basically mean that something is a waste of time. It’s vague and when your boss says this, you’d be wondering so just how much time should I be spending on this? What’s a better way around this is to explain exactly what needs to be done (or not), rather than leave “the ocean” up to interpretation.

What other business jargons do you know of? Tell us at Twitter @Graduan

Photo by Erwan Hesry on Unsplash

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