Workplace jargon. Those buzzwords we know and love are all around us — whether we’re participating in meetings, dialing into a conference call or simply engaging in some casual convo around the water cooler. Not surprisingly, this type of business speak has often had the audacity to slip into our vocabulary after hours when we’re enjoying some downtime with family and friends.
The result? Puzzled expressions, awkwardness and a certain degree of confusion, which can really put the kibosh on a damn good discussion.
Here’s a good example:
Several years ago, a friend asked if I could help her out with something (can’t remember what, but it really doesn’t matter now). “No problem,” I said. “I have some spare bandwidth.”
I knew the moment that I uttered the phrase that she would have no clue what I was talking about. “I don’t understand,” she said, “I need your help, not bandwidth.”
My bad. I had resorted to using high-tech jargon to tell my friend that, indeed, I did have time to help her (i.e. bandwidth).
All she heard was “bandwidth” not that I was available to help her. We eventually sorted things out. And I vowed to myself, in the interest of becoming a better communicator, I would “dial down” the jargon, “going forward”. See — one sentence, two excellent examples of jargon.
As an HR professional, how many times do you succumb to using jargon each day? Does it slip into conversation when you’re going through the talent acquisition process, onboarding a new employee, doing an employee appraisal? If you’re interested in finding out if plain language is taking a backseat to jargon in your organization.
It’s time to play a little HR Buzzword BINGO!
How to play HR Buzzword BINGO
Before you go to a team meeting or join a conference call, print one copy of this game card for each player. Or, better yet, post a copy of the card in your office. Check off each block when you hear any of the words or phrases. The first person to check five blocks horizontally, vertically, or diagonally, wins or loses, depending on how you play!
Official disclaimer: We are not, in any way, shape or form, promoting HR Buzzword BINGO as a drinking game. Any resemblance between Buzzword BINGO and a boisterous drinking game you may know of is purely coincidental. If you decide to imbibe in a tasty libation every time you hear/say one of these phrases — that’s 100 percent your decision.
How do you think we did on the jargon? Do you have any of your own? Let us know.