Archive for November 3rd, 2010

November 3, 2010

Business Speak, part 1

As everywhere people in organizations tend to make up expressions and terms in order to sound more important and serious.  In America, and here I am especially referring to Silicon Valley high tech companies – have pushed this habit to new heights.  Many perfectly fine, accurate words have been replaced by big phrases which are a lot of air and little substance.  A few examples:

If I wanted somebody’s input or feedback I used to say “I’ll talk to her” now one says “I will reach out to her”.

Employee 1: “We should meet tomorrow and discuss details.  We also need to include Anne, George, and Freddie in this meeting.”

Employee 2: “I will reach out to them and see when they are available.”

The kimono still closed! © Brenda Bailey |

Before, when a decision or an agreement was reached or one left a meeting with a bunch of task lists one went and informed those, who weren’t in on the decision or the meeting.  Now however that seems a tad trivial, and therefore one doesn’t merely inform or talk, no one socializes an idea.

Boss: “okay, so we move the deadline forward by three weeks.  Please go and socialize this plan with the teams.”

In a world of political correctness and formulaic business speak there comes a time when one needs to speak openly and frankly.  Instead of having a meeting, like in the olden days, these days one has “open kimono sessions”.  The term is self-explanatory: all the facts get laid out and one has an honest discussion.

November 3, 2010

Get the ball rolling

Get the ball rolling, pic: © Nextlimits |

If you get he ball rolling you are about to start or initiate something, or start an undertaking or keep it from failing.  It is, of course, another sport idiom and seems to date back quite a ways into the 17th century.  It originated in one of several team sports where the ball was rolled into the field to start the game or it was important to keep the ball rolling.

The expression is pretty widely used, especially in a business context. Here are some example of how this expression would be used:

Project team leader: “We’ll get the ball rolling on this project right away.”

“Join our movement and get the ball rolling!”

The following headline is also a good example: “Obama wants to get the ball rolling on immigration reform”