The nonsense phrases used by bosses not only leave workers confused, they make them angry too – yet the blight of office jargon shows no sign of easing, according to the Plain English Campaign.
For old gobbledygook is merely being replaced with new, equally annoying banalities – so instead of asking staff to ‘push the envelope’, bosses wanting the most to be made of a situation now encourage them to ‘squeeze the toothpaste’.
Examples include bosses requesting a ‘bird table discussion’ with colleagues and use of the toothpaste expression rather than simply asking staff to make the most of a situation.
One of the most complained-about phrases is: ‘Let’s run this up the flagpole and see who sails it’, as a means of suggesting a discussion of an idea and gauging reaction to it.
The statement ‘There is no “I” in team’ to encourage people to work together is among the most hated expressions, as well as ‘bring it to the table’ and ‘mission critical’.
Spokesman Steve Jenner said the campaign group has received a steady stream of emails this year from workers in sectors including education and banking. ‘Management gobbledygook is a complete distraction, partly to try to impress people or make them appear clever - when they are not,’ he said. ‘Some people think that it is easy to bluff their way through by using long, impressive-sounding words and phrases, even if they don’t know what they mean.’
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