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Deciphering business phrases or corporate jargons

Corporate buzzwords or jargons, often also called business phrases or corporate metaphors, are important part of corporate life as they tend to simplify complicated concepts into a simple word or phrase. Frequent use of such phrases or terms makes it easy for the people in the organisation to understand and gradually becomes part of the corporate culture. Buzzwords are also said to improve employee engagement as difficult tasks seem to become simpler through usage of such jargons. Daily activities and objectives also often become interesting due to the use of such phrases.

One might argue that sometimes the jargons are too complicated to understand, giving rise to the question as to why at all they exist. But think about it, explaining the same kind of work or activity, or procedure to be followed, especially when difficult concepts are involved, would not only be a time-taking exercise, but also boring to a large extent. So, the jargons actually save us time and prevent us from getting bored. They save time by using a simple term for a complicated concept.

5 popular business jargons

Some business buzzwords may be organisation specific, or applicable to a particular industry only and impliedly, we are not dealing with the same. I would rather take up five such phrases or jargons that are frequently used in the corporate environment. Be it in an email, or in verbal communication, the use of a business jargon may also get one perplexed if he fails to understand its meaning. Also, some of us may have a vague idea about these jargons, some may interpret them wrongly. The idea behind this article is to help readers decipher the correct meaning of such jargons and use them correctly.

All-Hands Meeting

Such a meeting is also often referred to as ‘all employee meetings’, ‘company-wide meetings’, as also ‘town hall’ or ‘company scrum’ in the western world. It implies a company-wide meeting held on a regular basis when employees from all departments, their heads, people from the management and other stakeholders meet to discuss important matters of relevance to the company. Such meeting aims at updating everyone within the organisation about the status of the business. During this meeting all stakeholders come to know about the thoughts and ideas of the promoters and direction of the organisation, about new information, processes, awards, achievements and other updates. It helps bring transparency and clear confusions, if any.

Ideally an All-Hands meeting is convened and presided over by a CXO and held at regular intervals, whether in physical or in virtual mode. Such meetings are different from team-building meetings which are directed towards strengthening the bond, trust and productivity of a certain team or department in an organisation. These meetings are the diametric opposite of one-on-one meetings.

The purpose of such meetings is to keep everyone within the organisation informed and updated about the current state of its business and its future plans. Such meetings are an effective tool in the hands of the management to collect important feedback from employees, make major announcements, enhance employee motivation through awards or praises, encourage group brainstorming, allow participants to ask questions, address grievances and introduce new leaders within the organisation.

The frequency of such meetings varies from company to company. Depending on the size and the industry to which it belongs, it might choose to have such meetings as frequently as ‘daily’, or weekly, or once every quarter or annually.

Deep Dive into something

Deep diving into something in a business scenario means a stricter and more thorough type of brainstorming on it. It is an intense, in-depth analysis of a topic, a problem or a situation in a shorter span of time. Once you deep dive into something, you get a better grip on that topic. Deep Diving helps in creation of ideas and also in understanding a problem and solving it better. So, when a senior asks an employee to deep dive into a certain subject or project, he is basically asking the latter to come up with a more detailed study and report by way of further brainstorming.

Reinvent the wheel

This jargon implies ‘wasting time in trying to do something that has already been done successfully’. It means to work on an idea or solution that one considers new or different, while in reality it is nothing better that something that already exists. So, basically, it means wasting time doing unimportant things, fiddling around or frittering away. The idea behind the use of this metaphor is to save valuable time and useless or unimportant efforts and is often meant as a warning or admonishment. Seniors often use the phrase to imply the futility of an activity of a junior.

Circle back to something

This business jargon essentially means coming back to a certain thing later or considering it again. This is considered to be the most used business phrase. So, it implies something two persons have already discussed and yet they want to return to it. It often indicates that there was a meeting where something was discussed, but nothing was finalised and the participants need to have yet another discussion on it. On the very face of it this jargon is about an activity that is useless and avoidable.

This jargon, as per a study conducted in the US, is the most disliked business jargon. The concept is totally in favour of indecision and procrastination. So, people who like promptness and action, will always be annoyed or upset by the use of this business phrase, and one needs to be extremely careful before using this jargon. It might come off as the person saying this avoiding the other person, or putting off the discussion on the particular topic. Often the person using the phrase does so to buy some time to make a decision. But it also shows the lack of commitment on his side.

Phone tag

Phone tag, also called the telephone tag, is a situation where two parties try to contact each other by phone/telephone, but none of them is able to get a hold of the other person and end up not being able to have a conversation. In such situations the two persons are said to ‘play’ telephone tag.

In the bygone era of wired telephones fixed to a particular place, it would often be because when one person calls the other person was out and vice versa. In today’s age of mobile phones this includes a situation when two persons trying to call each other are constantly busy on other calls. Telephone tag is often used as an excuse for not being able to connect with a person.


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