As we approach the end of 2019, it’s time to reflect on the what we’ve achieved over the year and set our goals for the next one. One of the things that we, as a society achieved, was the introduction and use of a load of phrases that permeate meetings and conversations in offices across the country. I’ve been compiling my favourites and added them to the popular “Lingo Bingo” format for you to tick off as you spot them being used “in the wild”.
I trialled it last week and managed to get all of them ticked off in 3 days…except for “dot the I’s and cross the T’s”, which anecdotally seems to have dropped off over the course of the year.
Let me know how you get on! Please also suggest any additions you think should be made.
There’s the original dark version:
And a light version (to save on printing):
In case you were wondering what any of them are, here’s some handy explanations…
- Piece – Short for “A piece of Work” I assume, has really gained popularity this year and has started being used all over the place….”The people piece”, “the deployment piece”, “the training piece” etc
- Across the Line – Simply used to mean “get something done” but brings sporting parlance into play, which is obviously cooler than speeding up the TPS reports or whatever.
- Going Forward – unnecessary replacement for “in the future” but nicely suggests that moving forwards in time is not only required but is improving things too.
- Reach Out – Good to use instead of “talk to”, “speak to” or “contact” which are all so 1990’s, this handy phrase doesn’t reveal the mechanism that will be used, so gives the speaker the freedom to use plastic cups and string if desired.
- Take That Offline – Because everything is online these days, including meetings that you’re physically sitting in with the other. Taking it “offline” just means talking about it outside of the meeting you’re currently in….possibly in another meeting.
- At the End of the Day – A handy alternative to more established classics such as “When all said and done”, this phrase can be used to drive home concluding summaries, frequently over simplified for effect. Funny colleagues like to say “it gets dark” in response.
- It is what it is – Always hard to disagree with. A great way of encouraging everyone to suck it up, accept reality and move on….especially if something’s your fault.
- Hard Stop – Used to indicate that you actually have to leave at a certain point. Usually employed in environments where meetings frequently over-run or if the user needs to imply they’re much too important to be wasting their time on this stuff.
- Green Light – Just means we’ve been authorised to do something…but conjures up feelings of being in an exciting car race, possibly a fast and furious style one and not just embarking on 12 month project to reduce printing costs.
- One Pager – A summary of something, usually, but not necessarily, fitting on one page….frequently deployed as a delaying tactic by someone who doesn’t understand what’s being asked for.
- Buy In – Many modern activities are executed by committee. This helps ensure that there’s no one person to blame when it goes wrong and also that it absolutely definitely will go wrong. Getting everyone to agree something means pandering to the lowest common denominator – something that pleases everyone, pleases no one.
- Space – Used to define any kind of bounded context. Probably originating in the physical World describing art spaces and such but it’s quickly morphed to describe pretty much anything: “I’ve been working in the Cloud space”, “I’m doing more in the security space”, “He’s heavily involved in the architecture space” etc
- Step Back – Because you’re obviously too close to the detail to be rational. Often used by someone who doesn’t understand the detail, or indeed the conversation and needs to re-run the last half an hour to get a grip on proceedings. A fairly safe-bet if you’re struggling for something to say.
- Learnings – An unneeded replacement for “lessons”, but sounds more like Yoda is involved.
- Socialise – Although it implies social niceties, this is frequently one way communications – an email shot, a community post or a presentation. Can be used to create “Buy In” (see above) for new, possibly unpopular initiatives.
- Engage – Yet another one for just communicating with other humans. This one implies more strategic intent though, not only will you be shouting information at their ungrateful lugholes, you’ll be cunningly manipulating them until they trust you and you can spring your trap (Eg new software they don’t understand…or want)
- Deliverable – Used to describe something that needs to be done. It can be nicely packaged up as a “deliverable” which immediately implies that it is, in fact, deliverable…but this may well not be the case. Just make sure it’s someone else’s deliverable.
- Devil’s Advocate – Simply means “I disagree but don’t want to appear as if I do”. Arguing a contrary view is a bit of a weird thing to do in most circumstances – you’re either an arse or a coward.
- Lens – A late entry but rising fast. Used to describe different ways of looking at things; Look at this through “a people lens”, “a finance lens”, “a profit lens” etc. Implies the lenses themselves apply distorting filters on reality. If you look at this phrase using your “cynic” lens, you’ll be well rewarded…./meta
- Touch Base – Probably another sporty one. In American baseball, you have to touch bases to get points and I guess you could talk to people as you go. This is usually used in much less exciting ways, simply meaning, I’ll talk to you…I bet they don’t even run to get there…
- Boil the Ocean – Usually used to mean “can’t we do less work” and everyone always agrees….what fool would want to boil an entire ocean? Nobody would, and the only alternative is to boil such a tiny part of the ocean that it possibly wasn’t even worth doing anyway.
- Low Hanging Fruit – Stuff that easiest to do. Saves climbing the metaphorical tree to get the probably tastier, less nibbled fruit that’s harder to get. Obvious “no brainer” (didn’t make the list this year) to do first, so much so, it’s probably not worth pointing out…and yet it always is.
- Deep Dive – Look into a topic a bit more than the superficial “it’s all bad, but this will make everything good” report usually submitted by consultants. A deep dive is almost never “deep”, just deep enough to conclude it needs an expensive replacement.
- Dot the I’s and Cross the T’s – Finish your half hearted, rushed attempt to get something completed before a meeting. Suggests you just need to add the finishing touches when in actual fact, you’re proabbly going to rewrite it five times.