Overheard: Business Edition

50 things I’ve heard in meetings in the last decade

Before I start, let me emphasize that I am not a member of the language police. In fact, I love how people play with language, break rules, and create new ways of communicating. Who doesn’t love “op talk,” in which my first name is “Popatropick”? Or new words and phrases, like “on fleek” (probably long outdated already), “boujee” (derivative of “bourgeois”), and “woke”? Okay, that last one’s a lightning rod and not really a new word, so I won’t go into it.

And I am certainly aware of how poor resources or lack thereof (e.g., education, mentorship) can significantly influence how one uses language, both consciously and unconsciously. It saddens me when someone misuses a metaphor because they simply don’t know what it means but heard it and feels it makes them sound smart. Words have meaning, and language can have an enormous impact.

That said, some grammatical errors simply get my goat. Some day, for the umpteenth time I will hear someone use the first person pronoun in the subjective case as an object (e.g., “That doesn’t matter to Camille and I.”), and I will snap.

But for now, I lay out these actual quotes from business meetings (except where noted otherwise) merely as a source of interest, amusement, or even study. Enjoy!

My Word! (Is that really what you mean?)

We think we know what it means, and we probably mean a different one…but this one sounds close enough, right?

My inbox is full of explanation points! Like when I had a list of a hundred excuses…

    • I really don’t resonate with that. It’s not really feeling us?
    • One of the key tenants of this policy is… Unless we mean the people who live in and rent that policy, we mean “tenets.”
    • Prosecute that lead. Is our prospective customer suspected of a crime?
    • I suggest that you guys highly try. Try in a manner influenced by cannabis?
    • We need to identify the ROI takeout. Only if we are trying to eliminate any return on investment.
    • This reflection point is starting to resignate with customers. A two-fer! I would argue that “resignate” belongs in the next section as a new word, but it is creeping into our language, so I’ll leave it here. But it’s still not the right one.

    A Whole New Word

    I love a new word. I suspect many of these were made up in the spur of the moment…when we just can’t…quite…think…of the real word… Or our tongue gets tied. Or, honestly, when it’s passed down from generation to generation. These stand for themselves without comment.

    • The numbers get totalized to give you the final metric.
    • I’m filled with proudness.
    • …fastly…
    • …familularity…
    • …expecially…
    • …subsiderary…
    • …unbenounced by…
    • …synergy acrossed areas…
    • This is the revelant example.
    • She has worked tireously.
    • What we can consense on is…
    • There’s no way I could have tooken all that time off.
    • We spent a consideral amount of time.
    • One thing we have to be cognant on is…

    Metaphor Mash-Up

    We clearly know the metaphors or common expressions, but in the excitement of being able to get a word in, we mix them all up and smoosh them together.

    • Our competitors are pulling out all the punches.
    • …so to say…
    • The best is here to come. It is both here and coming soon. Quantum best.
    • That’ll be the cake! And then we’ll eat it, I guess.
    • At a certain point, you have to put your foot in the sand. Not really. Unless we are at the beach, of course. But even then we can wear little beach shoes.
    • I have a few thoughts I’d like to share on my mind… Move around couple of phrases (or add a comma), and we’re fine here.
    • I’d like to thread the whole journey for you. Good luck! I hope the eye of the needle is really, really big.
    • We’ve come a far way.
    • …spreading the gamut… Where? On toast?
    • With further ado… Reminds of when someone says, “I’ll be brief.” Are they ever?

    What Are We Missing Here?

    Sometimes you just wonder what’s missing. A word? A letter? An entire phrase or thought?

    • Pick up your bootstraps. And what will that accomplish if you omit “yourself” and “by”? And what will you do with your bootstraps once they are off the ground?
    • Ladies and gentlemen, we’d like to remind you that the seatbelt sign is still on, so we’d ask you to remain in your seats until it is safe to do so. Okay this is an actual airline announcement omission. Until it is safe to do…what?

    I Object to that Subjective!

    As noted earlier, this is my pet peeve: using the objective form as a subject, as in “between you and I.” “I” is the subjective form. “Me” is the objective form and belongs here, as in “between you and me.” Once you hear “between you and I,” you can’t unhear it. It’s just my bitter fate. You’re welcome.

    • It’s been a challenge for Mary and I.
    • I can totally see Paul and I’s next Halloween costume. Actually, I heard this on a scripted television show, but, well, it needed to be included.
    • …a wide gap between he and Sanders. Also from TV. News.
    • Him and I discussed this. The reverse error. “He” is the subjective form.

    Too, Too Much

    Too many words coming from the Department of Redundancy Department. We get it, already.

    • He brings deep deep depth to the organization.
    • …to help our nation as a country.
    • …so we can be proactive ahead of the time.
    • You can also print this, as well, too.
    • I’m happy to be proud to…
    • This was the key linchpin.

    Grammar Roundup

    And some other little ones.

    • If you have just came in…
    • You will be blown away at… Unless, of course, you were describing an expected hurricane at, say, the mall.
    • I am going to dispense of my usual updates.
    • That’s the exception off the rule.

    Just For Fun

    These last ones are just for fun. My eyes rolled or widened (inside, of course) when I heard them.

    • And then I never saw her again for, like, three years. I get what he was saying. It was a long, long time, felt like forever. But “never again” is pretty final.
    • Stories are most effective when they have a narrative attached to them. Would it be rude of me to say, simply, “Duh”?
    • But wasn’t Nietzsche duplicitous in his attributions…? And I had to share this, overheard at a family dinner. Academics are hilarious.

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