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Buzzword Bingo, The Sequel

15 years is more than enough time for a sequel.

Wikimedia Commons: Abbey Hendrickson
Wikimedia Commons:
Abbey Hendrickson

More than 15 years ago, in the January 2007 issue of our 60-Second Read, Think Outside the Buzzword, we featured several popular consultant terms (a.k.a. jargon) along with their alleged as well as their true meaning.

Well 15 years is certainly more than enough time for a new batch to flourish.  So here’s the sequel:

Buzzword: “Take this offline”  (to deal with separately and later)
Example: (said with a friendly, gracious tone) “Bob, let’s not tie up the conference call with this issue right now.  Why don’t we take this offline.”
Real meaning: “You have no clue how steamed I am by what you’ve just said, and if you know what’s good for you, you’ll stop your yapping right now.”

Buzzword: “Value-added”  (to enhance the value of something, typically at no or less-than-expected cost)
Example: “Our knowledge workers provide value-added solutions by thinking outside the box.”
Real meaning: “We’re not totally certain how you, the customer, define value; so we hope this smoke screen will stop you from asking us for more details.”

Buzzword: “Does that make sense?”  (usually said following a pause and after a lengthy explanation to obtain customer agreement)
Example: “…and so to summarize, the final state is one of over-intensified near-simultaneous market saturation and de-coupling……Does that make sense?”
Real meaning: “I’ve been speaking for so long now trying to finagle an answer to your question, that I’ve truly forgotten what you asked and/or what I’ve just said.  I could use some help here; do you believe what I’ve just spewed forth?”

Buzzword: Learnings [note, you must make “learning” plural, otherwise it’s less “impactful”]  (typically used following a good or negative outcome, in the hope that something was learned as result, and that said knowledge can later be incorporated into similar activities)
Example: “Hey Mary, notwithstanding the fact that the project was a complete and utter failure, what are the most strategic learnings?”
Real meaning: “In our value-added approach to work, it’s untenable for our people to have just learning.  Our ROI focus mandates that our solutions yield multiple learnings.”

Buzzword: Leverage (to benefit from, especially by reducing the time or cost required to complete future work)
Example: “Souhel, how can we leverage the value-added learnings from the recent Frammus project for the upcoming Blammus project?”
Real meaning: “Hey Souhel, know any good shortcuts for getting the Blammus project done?  I’m tired.”

Buzzword: “Move the needle” (to have significant impact)
Example: “Our impactful, out-of-the box solutions to your supply chain issues will certainly move the needle.”
Real meaning: “I kinda think we can help you, but please, don’t ask me to articulate or provide real details as to how.  How about you just take it on faith, okay?”

Buzzword: Deeper dive / Peel the onion (to increase the value-added learnings by conducting a more rigorous analysis)
Example: “Ultimately, we’ll need to do a deeper dive on the matter [or peel the onion] in order to ascertain our strategic next steps.”
Real meaning: “Everything we’ve tried to-date has failed, and I have no clue what to do next.  So now I’ll put on my dancing shoes, and play for time.  Cue the music.”