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Biz-Speak - The Cool Side of Corporate Lingo

It's been said that real slang has three qualities- it's new, it's cool and it's soon gone. It's new because it suddenly appears almost overnight as a 'separate' mother tongue language. It's cool because . . . yeah, you guessed, it's creators are 'cool' and that means teenagers; and it's soon gone because sadly everyone, even teenagers, must get older and as they do the 'coolness' of their teenage vernacular becomes less cool and eventually goes the proverbial 'way of the dinosaur'. Occasionally, however, a few words stick around long enough to become part of the original mother tongue and thereafter become the property of all. The word 'cool' started as slang, as did the word 'buck'. Of course, such words are the exception to the rule, not the rule itself. Regardless, is it possible that adults can be cool enough to create their own slang, and if so, where would they speak it? The answer to that question is a resounding 'yes'. There are some cool adults, and they're doing to business English, what cool teenagers did to general English. Known as Biz-Speak, this 'for adults only' business slang has been, and continues to be, turning up all over the corporate world. Knowing a few Biz-Speak words and phrases will definitely increase your 'coolness' quotient especially if you're 'becoming less cool as a teenager' (getting older) and must soon 'become more cool as an adult' (go to work).

Try these out for size:

  • 1. Dead Presidents (Am) refers to money (from the fact that pictures of dead presidents usually appear on US currency.
  • 2. Windshield Time is the time spent, generally in heavy traffic, commuting to and from work.
  • 3. Desktime is the time between commuting and meetings available to do real work at your desk (about 5% of a typical employee's work day).
  • 4. Voodoo Statistics refers to the art of making bad data or information look good.
  • 5. 50-50-90 Rule is similar to Murphy's Law; the 50-50-90 Rule states that given a 50-50 chance of things going right, they'll go wrong 90% of the time.
  • 6. Locked Tool Box is a reference to a company or organization that has the right tools, systems, equipment, etc., but lacks skilled employees to put them to good use.
  • 7. Meeting Moth is an executive who flits (flies) from meeting to meeting, but seldom participates in, or acts on, the items discussed in them.
  • 8. Bleeding Edge refers to technology beyond 'cutting edge'; it's so new that it's still dangerous.
  • 9. Back-Sourcing: When outsourcers fail to deliver quality, service or cost effectiveness, companies will bring the job back in-house.
  • 10. Upgrading the Herd refers to hiring better, more experienced/educated people to replace the bad ones.

So now you know what you have to look forward to. At best you'll find yourself one day sitting in Mahogany Row (where the executives work) and guilty of presenteeism (never being able to leave work) or at worse being a Bluetooth Fairy (someone with a bluetooth head set constantly blinking in their ear) working for an empty suit or hollow bunny (high-level male or female managers who lack the knowledge, experience or intellect to hold their position.

COOL . . . I think !!

By Rob Jensky,
Director of Language Link School

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