A culture is defined as the beliefs, values, mindsets, and practices observed by a group of people. This defines what is commonly deemed as “appropriate” within the group, and establishes how we think and function. You have most likely heard of national cultures, or subcultures such as religion, generation, and region. But did you know companies have a unique form of culture?
Corporate culture is an important aspect of a company’s identity. This level of culture consists of how people dress, interact with employees, and make organizational decisions in the office. Some businesses pride themselves on the professionalism of their employees, who dress in suits and strive hard to have the corner office with a view, whereas others enjoy the laid back style of their office, where there are no walls and complete openness among employees. However, whether you’re in the fast-paced New York penthouse or the relaxed San Diego beach house, there are some commonalities within corporate culture as a whole.
Language varies between cultures, and dialects add even more uniqueness. Think of the United States: A conversation between a Southerner and a Northerner could be completely unsuccessful. Even though both parties are speaking English, the dialects, accents, and regional terms are very different. Apply this point to businesses, and you have office jargon. Fitting in to company culture is an important way to enhance your job, and being able to talk the talk is a big part of that.
In the office, you’re sure to hear some interesting phrases amongst your coworkers. In the Landscape of Office Jagon infographic from Pens.com, you can pick up on a few touch points for some of the most common office terms. Whether your team is planning to “drill down” on a recent issue, or you need to run a project “up the flagpole” for its next phase, business language is very prevalent. Becoming familiar with and utilizing these terms can enhance your efficiency within the workplace and build relationships in your team. Jargon allows employees to speak with each other with familiarity, and cuts down on unnecessary words. For example, saying, “Let’s table this conversation,” is more succinct than, “Let’s reconvene this conversation for a later time.” Office lingo, when used properly, also increases professionalism. Creating an “action plan” sounds more impressive than making a to-do list.
However, like all good things, there is such thing as too much. Use office jargon with moderation to avoid running the risks of sounding unprofessional, creating confusion, or misusing terms. Tell your boss that your team is “getting its ducks in a row to drill down and power through the issues of creating an evergreen product,” and expect to not be taken seriously. Instead, use jargon sparingly to sound professional and serious, but still knowledgeable about how to communicate within the company culture. Now it’s time to take this off-line, and educate yourself and your coworkers on office jargon with this handy infographic!