FYI: Corporate Jargon

FYI: Corporate Jargon

Imagine going to the Cai Fan store and the aunty says, “Hi, please define your scope. Our core competencies are in curry, egg and meat dishes. After you confirm your purchase, please collect your deliverables at the side.” Mind-numbing isn’t it?

Unfortunately, the jargon-speak has become the norm in the corporate world. Most jargons began with good intentions to make communication more succinct and precise. From organizational psychologists and bankers to management gurus and marketers, everyone wanted a hand in creating the next big buzzword. So today, the unsuspecting fresh grad enters the corporate world only to learn that there’s a whole new language they need to catch up by EOD (end of day).

Here we tackle some of the jargons you’ll come across in the corporate world and attempt to revert it to simpler Cai Fan speak.

#1: Core Competency

Basically refers to your strengths. But it’s cooler because it makes you sound like an HDB-sized kaiju-fighting robot.

Used in a Sentence: My core competencies include photoshop.
Simple Speak: I am good at photoshop.

#2: Deliverable

The work or end product that you have to hand in to your boss or client. It can be physical like a report or intangible like target profits.

Used in a Sentence: You’ll have the deliverables by Friday.
Simple Speak: I’ll do it by Friday.

#3: Disrupt

To turn an industry on its head with a game-changing approach. More academically, a disruptive business has to start by creating a market where there is none or target an underserved audience. It can also be used to describe Tommy from marketing who blasts his Spotify playlist.

Used in a Sentence: Our goal is to disrupt the nasi lemak industry.
Simple Speak: We have a new approach that will change the nasi lemak industry.

#4: Ideation

To think of new ideas. It’s also known to most as thinking.

Used in a Sentence: We are having an ideation session to tackle the client’s brief later today.
Simple Speak: We are meeting later to discuss the client’s request.

#5: Low-Hanging Fruit

Easy wins or problems that can easily be solved. Also, a farmer’s dream.

Used in a Sentence: Let’s tackle the low-hanging fruit first.
Simple Speak: Let’s tackle the easy problems first.

#6: Paradigm Shift

A fundamental change in the way you think about something. Also makes you sound like you belong in a sci-fi movie.

Used in a Sentence: This new approach will bring about a paradigm shift in our new work year.
Simple Speak: This new approach will drastically change how we work next year.

#7: Revert

While it technically means to go back to an earlier state, many people erroneously use it to mean reply. It can be used matter-of-factly and also passive-aggressively.

Used in a Sentence: Please revert as soon as possible.
Simple Speak: Please reply when you can.

#8: Return on Investment (ROI)

The estimated gains from the total cost put into a project. Usually a mix of business strategy, economics and agaration.

Used in a Sentence: The expected ROI for this campaign is 1000 clicks per $2.
Simple Speak: For this campaign, we should get about 1000 clicks for every $2.

#9: Take This Offline

Postponing a topic of discussion or reserving its details for another meeting. Your boss might also say this if you post nudes of him on your company’s Facebook page.

Used in a Sentence: I’ll take this offline with Ashly after the meeting.
Simple Speak: I’ll further disc
uss this with Ashly after the meeting.

#10: Touchpoint

Where a business interacts with its customers. It could range from apps and websites to storefronts.

Used in a Sentence: We will have more touchpoints by the end of the year.
Simple Speak: We will have more ways to reach our customers by the end of the year.

#11: Value Add

What benefits you bring to the table. Also, how McDonald convinces you to buy their set meals.

Used in a Sentence: Put me on this project, I’ll definitely value add.
Simple Speak: I can be very helpful
on this project.

#12: Vertical

It means a specific area of business expertise. It’s also used by secondary school students trying to figure math out.

Used in a Sentence: My team serves the packaging vertical.
Simple Speak: We do product packaging.

#13: Scope of Work

The range of things you do.

Used in a Sentence: That’s out of my scope of work, you’ll have to find Joe in accounting.
Simple Speak: Sorry, I don’t do that, but Joe from accounting can help.

#14: Streamline

To make things more efficient by simplifying processes. You can also use its literal meaning if you’ve made your office chair more aerodynamic.

Used in a Sentence: I streamlined the logistical workflow by eliminating unnecessary steps.
Simple Speak: I cut down the steps so we deliver faster now.

#15: Synergy

A combination where the sum is greater than its parts. Originally a Protestant term referring to the cooperation between human will and divine grace. Now tattooed on every business guru’s tongue.

Used in a Sentence: There is great synergy between our company and Disney’s products.
Simple Speak: I think Disney would make a great partner.

Business-speak might seem unnecessary and foreign, especially to a fresh grad. And in some ways it is. When you hear your boss go on a ten-minute speech only for your takeaway to be a big fat ‘okay, so?’, it’s probably business-speak for business-speak sake.

But in certain instances, it can actually lead to clearer communication. So as a rule of thumb, whatever conveys your message with the most efficiency and effectiveness simplest, works.