by Bennett Quillen

OK, watch out: I am on a diatribe.  Yes, you may say I am simply a curmudgeon, but so be it.  I have simply had it up to my eyeballs with “business-speak” where no one knows what they are saying or why they are saying it.


Corporate America cannot talk or write.  It is increasingly evident that large corporations make money in spite of themselves.  People in these organizations are living in some kind of cocoon where they do not have to talk or write coherently.


I just hung up on a conference call in which several of the participants were awash in meaningless corporate slang, using all of the terms, multiple times, listed below; it was just simply too much for me to take.  I swear if I hear any person using the following expressions from anyone anymore, I cannot be responsible for what action I may take against that individual:


  • “reach out to so-and-so” – what the heck does that mean???  Oh, I know it Is supposed to be a kind of warm and comfy way of contacting someone. So, then why not say: call, write, meet, email, fax or whatever.  If someone reaches out to me, they are likely to get a sock in the jaw!


  • “dialogue with so-and-so” – another meaningless term.  What is wrong with simply saying talk with so-and-so or meet with that person?


  • “voice of the customer” – this is supposed to be where we are considering the desires and needs of the customer.  Do these corporate robots (i.e. people) realize this is a perversion of the “voice of the turtle” from Song of Solomon?  Of course not!  If you want to know about customer objectives or needs, fine.  But, call them what they are: customer survey results.


  • “stakeholders” – this is a real stupid one.  Companies have shareholders.  But, stakeholders are supposed to be anyone inside, or potentially outside, the organization that has some sort of specific interest in a project.  Of course, lots of people or departments in a company may have a vital interest in a particular project or service.  That makes them developers, project managers, sales people, managers, whatever – but NOT stakeholders. It is completely meaningless.  We have executives, employees, customers, and shareholders – period – end of story!


  • “associates” – this is a cute human resource way of saying we are all associates – baloney!  We have executives and employees.  If I am in a company, I have a boss, and he/she probably has a boss. We are not associates; we are employees — let’s get that straight.


  • “passion” over an issue – this is probably the worst of the lot.  Some woman on the call said: “Well, I don’t know whether anyone of you have “passion” about this task (She was speaking about a project task.), or do you have “passion” about doing something else?”  It was at the close of that question, with two “passions” in it that I hung up.  I’ll tell you all: I have “passion” over two things in my life – my religion and my family; that’s it!


Well, I feel a lot better having gotten that off my chest.  Thanks for being the recipients of my “reaching out” to “dialogue” having “passion” about this – arghhhhh!


Bennett Quillen