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Translating BIZSPEAK

The Economist November 20th 2021 pp61|Bartleby|” The business phrasebook” “A short guide to what your colleagues really mean”


Read The Economist for all the details


Summary offered by 2244





In recent times certain businesses have adopted a more straightforward way of communicating as in saying what they mean rather than expecting colleagues to read-between-the-lines. Bartleby’s “The business phrasebook” offers some translation for those still clinging to obfuscation.


Some excerpts.


“‘I hear you’” Ostensible meaning (OM): “You’re making a legitimate point” Actual Meaning (AM) “Be quiet”


“‘I’m just curious’” OM “I’d like to know why you think that....” AM “...because it makes no sense to anyone else”


“‘I wanted to keep you in the loop’” OM “I am informing you of something minor” AM “I should have told you this weeks ago.”


“‘It’s on the product roadmap’” OM “It’ll be done soon” AM “It won’t be done soon”


“‘Bring your whole selves to work’” OM “Be authentic and don’t be afraid to show vulnerability” AM “But not those bits of your whole self, obviously”


Thoughts on digesting this.


Of course finesse is often needed as “perpetual bluntness is draining; humans constantly finesse and massage the messages they send to avoid open conflict.”


“Radical candour is associated with firms that pay very well. That may be because this approach leads to great success. It may be because otherwise most people wouldn’t put up with it.”



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