We’ve all been there -that business meeting or conversation where business English jargon and meaningless phrases fly around. Phrases or jargon like: “Keep me in the loop“, “It’s a win-win situation”, “We need some blue sky thinking around here”, “Don’t worry, it’s on my radar“.

Not only do native speakers of English like using them, more often than not I’ve heard non-native speakers voicing these jargon phrases because they are under the mistaken belief that using them will make them sound clever and more fluent in English. Unfortunately, what it actually does is to annoy the person with whom you’re talking – the complete opposite effect I presume you’re trying to achieve. It would be so much better if you used plain English.

Not only does jargon annoy your listener, it is meaningless. I have lost count of the number of times I’ve asked a native speaker what some of these phrases mean only to receive blank looks from them. I’d rather have non-native speakers of English use plain language to make themselves understood.

In this post, I’d like to share twelve jargon phrases and offer you an alternative expression that will win the gratitude and understanding of your listener.

1. We need to get back to the drawing board.
Plain English: We need to start again.

2. If we’re going to achieve the results we want this year, we have to hit the ground running with the project.
Plain English: If we’re going to achieve the results we want this year, we have to work hard and successfully on the project.

3. Let’s get the ball rolling.
Plain English: Let’s start.

4. If we want to compete in this market, we need to think outside the box.
Plain English: If we want to compete in this market, we need to think differently.

5. Right, thanks everyone. Let’s touch base tomorrow at 2pm.
Plain English: Right, thanks everyone. Let’s speak again tomorrow at 2pm.

6. Ok. See you Friday at 6pm. If I am running late, I’ll ping you a message.
Plain English: Ok. See you Friday at 6pm. If I am running late, I’ll send you a message.

 

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7. Self-publishing is a no brainer for freelance trainers with limited resources.
Plain English: Self-publishing is the logical solution for freelance trainers with limited resources.

8. Working long hours is par for the course when you start a business.
Plain English: Working long hours is normal (or expected) when you start a business.

9. There’s an ongoing problem with the system that hasn’t been addressed. We’re going to have to circle back next week to discuss matters further.
Plain English: There’s an ongoing problem with the system that hasn’t been addressed. We’re going to have to meet again next week to discuss matters further.

10. Yes, sir. It’s all hands on deck to get this project done by the agreed deadline.
Plain English: Yes, sir. Everyone is working hard to get this project done by the agreed deadline.

11. It was obvious to everyone that there was an elephant in the room – the job cuts.
Plain English: It was obvious that everyone was trying to avoid the difficult subject of the job cuts.

12. Listen, I don’t have time for this. I have far too much on my plate and am finding it difficult to cope as it is.
Plain English: Listen, I don’t have time for this. I am far too busy  and am finding it difficult to cope as it is.
What other expressions do you know or have heard? Do you use any of the above in your business dealings? Think of how you use them and try to use Plain English instead.

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Ciao for now

Shanthi

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