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In the early 21st century many new sayings, words and phrases have found their way into offices everywhere. It has to be said that much of this jargon is a cause of amusement in most offices but this often turns to annoyance when these sayings are used to excess or, worse still, are used by people who do not know exactly what it is they are saying.

Changing Words
The last decade has seen the beginning of a rather unhelpful trend for taking words which have been used in the workplace and indeed in everyday life for many years and changing them for other words which are supposed to have the same meaning but which somehow sound as if they should mean something else entirely.

Good examples of words that seem to have come into regular office usage include saying ‘close of play’ for the end of the working day, ‘talking offline’ for speaking in private, ‘360 degree thinking’ for considering all the options and possibilities and using the word ‘challenges’ to describe problems or issues. Quite why these phrases are used is not clear but it seems as if the use of these words and others is becoming more common.

New Expressions
In addition to the increase in use of these words, there has also been a marked increase in the use of phrases that far from meaning what they are intended to mean, sometimes seem as if they do not mean anything at all. Some of the phrases that are in use in offices all over the country include ‘out of the loop’, ‘paradigm shifts’, ‘cascading’ and ‘at the end of the day’. It is not clear what these phrases are intended to achieve but there are people up and down the country who are attending meetings where they have been used and are coming out being no wiser than when they went in.

Who Is Speaking?
Using different words to describe things or new expressions that are considered to be ‘on trend’ is something that is likely to be done by middle and higher-level management, usually to try and improve their standing with their peers and senior colleagues.

Certain professions are more likely to be the users of these words and expressions than others and those working in the media are likely to b the worst culprits. However, that is not to say that the use of such jargon does not happen in other workplaces and could just as easily occur among those working in other professions such as manufacturing, sales and advertising, as well as those working in professions such as finance and accounting for engineers or surveyors.

It is not clear whether this trend of switching words or using meaningless phrases is something that will last. In most cases, those who are using these expressions either do not understand what they mean or do not feel comfortable saying them. It is because of this that there is some reason to be hopeful that this may be nothing more than a passing phase which will be over by close of play – hopefully some time this decade!

This guest post has been written on behalf of Brookson.