Business Jargon Words have a Purpose... after all

Jargon words may be annoying, but they have a purpose and it's to expedite communication in business through metaphors.

You may disagree with this, you may have witnessed when people use a lot of business jargon, and at the end you wonder if they said anything of importance.

Nevertheless, a basic knowledge of business jargon can help you keep up with what others at work are thinking, doing and saying.

For a non native speaker (like me), learning these words through the years has been extremely useful. If I didn't learn them I may have missed their metaphorical meaning and taken them for their literal meaning.

List of Business Jargon Words

Jargon Words

24/7 At all times

3 martini lunch A business lunch where people drink too much.

Actionable Ideas you can put to work, instead of just conceptual.

Alignment Following the goals of the organization and the department.

Arena A metaphor meaning field of action.

At the end of the day After everything has passed or been said.

Ballpark Estimate.

Bandwidth (capacity) Capacity of an individual, a team, a company.

Bang for the buck What you get in return for investing time, energy, money, or whatever else you invest.

Bean counter Accountant.

Benchmark Industry measure to compare against.

Guesstimate Estimate.

Best of breed The best on various different categories.

Best practice An industry's best way of doing any particular work, a measure that companies can use as a point of comparison.

Blue sky Not feasible, not doable.

Brain dump The act of saying everything that's on your mind, without filtering it or organizing it.

Brainstorming To verbalize ideas about a chosen topic without judgement.

Bread and butter The business' main source of revenue.

Bring to the table What someone contributes to the team, or the company, or the deal.

Brown bag (as a verb) To do something while eating a lunch you brought from home or bought as carry out.

Budget crunch When the budget is less than in previous budget periods, so there is less money to spend.

Buzz Excitment, something that's being talked about currently by many.

Caliber Grade or worth, so high caliber would be equivalent to high worth.

Capacity The potential to do something, as in this department has built the capacity to handle more transactions.

Core competency A key strenght or hability, without which the businesss wouldn't exist as such.

Credentials An individual's experience, knowledge, and education.

Cube farm An office with cubicles (partitions).

Deem Consider.

Doable Something that can be done, not impossible.

Downsizing Generally means laying off employees.

Ducks in a row Everything is ready, all preparations are complete.

Due diligence Research about a company before buying it. People also use it in other contexts, like "I made sure I did my due diligence before I bought this software package".

Ensue Follow.

Face time The time spent talking with someone in person.

Facilitate Conduct or oversee, as in Who'll facilitate today's meeting?

Focal point. The point where all the attention is asked for and given.

Framework Point of reference.

Full disclosure A complete description of something, including what's good and bad about it.

Full plate When someone has too much work to do.

Functionality The tasks and processes that a computer software program allows you to do, as in The payroll system has limited funcionality, it doesn't let me print duplicate checks. Gap analysis The study of what is missing between what is offered and what is required. These jargon words are usually used when buying computer software, and you complete a gap analysis between what the software offers and what you need.

Giving 110 percent, Going the distance or Going the extra mile Giving your job more than what's expected.

Going solo Completing a project or an assignment on your own.

Google (as a verb) We use this one so much that we may no longer think of it as one of the jargon words. It means to search for something on the internet.

Granular Information or data that is broken down, as in These sales figures need to be more granular, so we can see sales per person, per month.

Guesstimate or Wag (Wildassguess) means an estimate that is not really founded on any solid foundation, it's just a guess.

Heads up Warning.

His/her baby A project that was started by x employee, as in X can't let that project fail, it's his baby.

In a nutshell In summary.

In bed with When someone has close ties with someone else. It's somewhat accussatory of wrongdoing, as in Paul in HR is in bed with the XYZ company. He's always promoting its products.

In that space In that area.

In the black Making money, not losing it, as when you're in the red.

In the interest of time To speed things up and not take any more time.

In the red Losing money.

Indicate Demonstrate or point to, as in All data indicates we're headed for a good sales month.

Insource Have internal employees complete the work, as oppossed to Outsource, when you hire external people to do the work.

Keep someone in the loop or Keep someone posted To keep someone informed.Learning organization An organization that's focuses time, energy and money on developing its staff.

Level playing field When conditions for everyone are equal, no one has advantage over another.

Low hanging fruit The rewards that are easier and faster to get.

Manage expectations To discuss openly and clearly what to expect out of a project or a product or a service.

Metrics Standard Measurements to compare against.

Migrate Usually used in the context of computer systems, as in Our department is migrating from an old version of Windows to the latest version.

Milestone We got this from the project jargon words. It means a significative point in a development or a project, as in Finishing the marketing test is a major milestone.

Number of  Eyeballs Number of people that look at a website or web page.

Out of pocket When a department spends money in excess of what can be absorbed by routine operating expenses.

Out of the loop When someone is not kept informed, is left out of the loop.

Outcomes Results.

Outsource Hiring outside labor to complete work.

Personal best Your best.

Placeholder When something is put in place to reserve the space for something else, as in We used $10,000 only as a placeholder for the department's office supplies budget, we know now that the corret amount is $9,400.

Power lunch, Power breakfast, Power nap, Power walks These business jargon words became popular all at once and seem to have gone away in the same manner. They mean fast paced or done quickly for the sake of career advancement.

Prairie-dogging Heads popping up over the walls of cubicles to see what just happened.

Provide Give.

Push the envelope Go past what's safe and predictable.

Pushback Refute someone's argument.

Put to bed Consider an issue done and resolved, as in That problem has been put to bed.

Putting out fires Resolving urgent and unimportant matters.

Reality check When you take a break from working on an assignment to reflect and discuss how the assignment is coming along, as in We need to do a reality check on that project, I think we're getting off course.

Repurpose To use an existing tool, equipment or space for a different purpose.

Retool To train, to get new skills.

Rightsizing To re-hire some employees after a layoff.

Robust This is one of those computer jargon words. It means solid, proven, free of errors (if there's such a thing)

Server farm Another one of those computer jargon words. It means a computer room that contains several computer servers.

Soup to nuts From start to end.

Source (as a verb) This word is closely related to insource and outsource, it means where the labor force comes from, as in We plan to source our marketing to XYZ Inc., meaning, we will hire XYZ to do our marketing.

Spearhead To start and to lead.

Step up to the plate To accept responsibility for something, to dare.

Subsequent After, as in Subsequent to my boss' retirement, they promoted me to his position.

Sustainable This came from the green and echological shift we experienced in recent years. The word means something that can be maintained with existing resources.

Take away (used as a noun) The lessons and final points you get from a speech. The most important points made.

Talk offline To discuss something unofficially, usually in private.

Think outside the box To think beyond the limitations of what's been done before. To be creative, to innovate.

Transpire What happens at a meeting, as in Mary took notes of what transpired at today's meeting.

User experience The way a computer system looks and feels like to a person using it.

Whole nine yards Entire, complete.

Win win Something that is good for both parties, as in This is a win-win solution.

World class Of high quality.

Zero sum game A situation where some have to lose for others to win.

Get familiar with this basic list of jargon words and write me a note or post on the comments below when you think or come accross jargon words that I missed.

Keep in mind that some jargon words come and go before we even get to hear them or use them. Still, it's good to know what they mean.

If you'd like to read more about communication in the workplace, check out these, Communication Articles