There are plenty of things your coworkers say that drive you up the wall. There are plenty of things that you say that drive your coworkers up the wall. But, it turns out there are some corporate phrases--jargon that people like to hear.

Who knew? 

I mean, we all knew we liked to say it, but we don't want other people saying it. (I swear if one more person says they have an "ask" for me, I won't be able to control myself.) 

Verizon did a survey and asked people about corporate jargon and came up with quite a list of phrases. But, surprisingly, they also included phrases we like. They are:

  • Big picture
  • All hands on deck
  • Bring to the table
  • Go all in
  • Out-of-the-box

These phrases focus on teamwork and positive plans. Getting the big picture says "I'm not just going to focus on my small area, but I want to understand how we work together as a team." Understanding what others do and how everything fits together makes a team function better.

All hands on deck, and bring to the table focus on inclusiveness. Everyone has something they can bring to the table, and getting everyone involved in a project is, again, very team focused.

The other two aren't quite so team-oriented, but they do show enthusiasm and creativity. After all, one of the worst phrases is, "this is how we've always done it." Going out of the box means you're willing to look at other possibilities. Go all-in shows commitment to an idea or plan.

They are all positive things that focus on getting work done!

Contrast that with the least favored phrases.

  • Analysis paralysis
  • I'll ping you
  • I'll run that up the flag pole
  • Boil an ocean
  • Behind the 8 ball

The first is negative; the second and third are taking it out of the team environment. The fourth--boil an ocean--was entirely new for me, but Verizon helpfully tells me that it "refers to the impossibility of trying to boil the amount of water that makes up an ocean." Again, it's a negative term, as is the problematic situation described in "behind the 8 ball."

This makes me wonder if it's not the jargon we dislike so much, but the negativity behind it. Perhaps instead of hiding behind jargon, we should say what we think directly. "We are never going to get this project done in time," rather than "it's like trying to boil an ocean!" If we focus on projects and timelines, we can come up with solutions. The jargon states that there is nothing we can do--it's impossible.

So, the next time you cringe at the jargon coming from your coworker's mouth, ask yourself if it's the phrase or the negative attitude associated with it. If it's the latter, do what you can to fix it up and find a positive solution.