17 Phrases That Mean Something Totally Different At Work

Guys, let's manage expectations on the bleeding edge, yeah?

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1. "Giving 110%"

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What it usually means: A physically impossible percentage to give.

What it means in business: Probably overtime again.

Bewildering business sentence: "Guys, the client's not going to accept anything less than 110% on this project, okay?"

2. "Learnings"

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What it usually means: The process of acquiring knowledge (a word which has no plural).

What it means in business: Things learned.

Bewildering business sentence: "Mike, can you share your learnings from your accountancy course with the team?"

3. "Synergy"

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What it usually means: The art of collaborating productively.

What it means in business: A project that involves the payroll team and the accounts payable team.

Bewildering business sentence: "Guys, can we create some synergy here so that the right hand knows what the left hand's doing?"

4. "Uphance"

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What it usually means: It doesn't.

What it means in business: Improve.

Bewildering business sentence: "Guys, I thought we talked about this – you really need to uphance your synergy if we're going to be on target this quarter."

5. "Going forward"

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What it usually means: Travelling directly ahead.

What it means in business: "From now on."

Bewildering business sentence: "Following my divorce please refer to me as 'Ms' going forward."

6. "At the end of the day"

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What it usually means: At the end of a specific day.

What it means in business: "My point is..."

Bewildering business sentence: "At the end of the day, John, A4 is arguably the superior size of printer paper."

8. "Take offline"

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What it usually means: To remove something from the internet.

What it means in business: To save an off-topic conversation for another time.

Bewildering business sentence: "Can we take this issue offline and move forward with the business at hand?"

9. "Download"

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What it usually means: To transfer something from one computer system to another.

What it means in business: Update.

Bewildering business sentence: "So I went to the managers' meeting this morning and I just wanted to download the key points to you guys."

10. "Reach out"

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What it usually means: Stretching out your arm to touch something.

What it means in business: Writing an email.

Bewildering business sentence: "I've reached out to the catering company about the potential food poisoning situation."

11. "Paradigm shift"

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What it usually means: A fundamental change in your assumptions or world-view.

What it means in business: Adopting a new approach to a problem.

Bewildering business sentence: "I propose a paradigm shift from the Post-It note model to the whiteboard model, for sustainability reasons."

12. "Robust"

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What it usually means: Sturdy.

What it means in business: Something that works as it should, for example software that doesn't crash when you turn it on.

Bewildering business sentence: "This shared Excel document is really robust."

13. "Holistic"

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What it usually means: Something that addresses the whole, rather than just parts.

What it means in business: Keeping an eye on the bigger picture.

Bewildering business sentence: "We need to adopt a holistic, cradle-to-grave approach for the new invoicing structure."

14. "Push the envelope"

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What it usually means: Literally pushing an actual envelope.

What it means in business: Probably overtime again.

Bewildering business sentence: "Everybody, our competitor's product is really robust, so I'm going to need you all to really push the envelope this time."

15. "Organic"

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What it usually means: Related to naturally occurring matter.

What it means in business: Something that happened without anybody scheduling a meeting about this first.

Bewildering business sentence: "Going forward I want to see more examples of uphanced organic synergy like this."

16. "Thought shower"

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What it usually means: Something that has never happened in the history of meteorology.

What it means in business: A meeting where people put forward ideas (they used to be called "brainstorms", but the term was thought to be offensive to people with epilepsy).

Bewildering business sentence: "Thought shower for ideas generation, five minutes."

17. "Key"

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What it usually means: A small metal device that opens a lock.

What it means in business: Supernaturally important.

Bewildering business sentence: "So Mike, at the end of the day it'd be so uphancing if you could proactively push the envelope and pencil in a robust thought shower so we can all download your key learnings by close of play today."