If you are normal, speak like a normal person – it’s way more appealing.

The first time I heard “win-win,” about 100 years ago, I wasn’t quite sure what it meant. Since no competition has two winners, this had to be a place in China, right? At the time I was a budding rock-star of the emerging corporate world. I was a lion in the hunt, a philosopher seeking the truth, a politician questing for power. I was invincible, bulletproof and completely positive my smarts and talents would take me to the top. Call the circus, the ringleader of the tiger team is here. Just hand me the gold medal as it was already a foregone conclusion.

This was a self-ignorant attitude making me the favorite to win the zero-sum game, not a prudent long-term POA.

The illustration and overuse of triteness, cliche’s, clever colloquialisms, hackneyed hyperbole and ambiguous acronyms have taken over the business world like white on rice. Corpspeak is a means to imply that someone is in-the-know, hip and has an underlying premise that it is a phrase he or she just made-up. This isn’t intelligence, it’s infantile.

There seems to be a dearth of speaking like a normal person when in a work situation. Why not say “How’s it going,” rather than “I look forward to a productive exchange?” One is honest and one is, well, BS. Upon leaving say: “I enjoyed chatting” rather than “I look forward to our next facetime.” Same meaning, but the former is “real,” the latter is, well, BS.

So, you are instructed to think “outside the box.”  This would make you happy if you happen to be in a litter box but not so much if you are in a box of chocolates.

I recently met a purchasing agent for a Tier 1 supplier to Ford. I was visiting to check on the status of a pending new contract that could have been a nice chunk of business for my company. She informed me that they were awarded a portion of the tender, but not the part that included the item we would supply. While somewhat disappointing, she explained that she felt good that they are still in the sandbox. I had never heard that term used before, but was told it meant they can still play in the same place as other key suppliers, but had to be happy with sharing at times – you can’t play with all the toys by yourself I guess. Now, if our customer had been thinking outside of the sandbox, would this have yielded a better result? I imagine there is some unimaginative snippet that would give me that answer, such as: “we got the sand kicked in our face.” Banal enough? While unfamiliar with the term “sandbox” by the time I hear it for the 500th time – I give it about two months – I’ll hate it.

If you don’t feel in the know, or wish to play one-upmanship in the latest vapid phraseology, you can get assistance by clicking on the Corporate B.S. Generator.

So next time you meet a new business contact tell them it is inevitably proactive to meet them and wish them good luck on expanding their core competencies today.  See how that works for ya.

Oh, In writing this, I have exhausted every synonym I could think of meaning boring – you get the point. I’m going off the grid; keep it real peeps!