Over the years, I've heard a lot of 'consulting speak' - some of it comes and goes; most of it stays around. Everybody is guilty of using it, some more than others. In the end, people need to become more articulate in their language rather than reverting back to the typical terms that become so cliche that they sometimes lose all meaning.  Here are some of my favorites decoded: 

  • Ping me: No not pong. A phrase used as a request to text, email, or message someone. 
  • Low-Hanging Fruit: This one has been around forever - if it's so low-hanging, why hasn't somebody grabbed it?
  • Open the Kimono: A vivid image that really means..."show me your cards" - a poker reference.
  • Full Court Press: A lovely basketball analogy that means that every important resource available will be committed to the task.
  • Hanging Around the Hoop: The act of staying close enough to something without actively pursuing anything with the hopes of a fortuitous rebound.
  • Cluster-F: The act or state of making something so congested and complicated with so many people that nobody knows what's going on.
  • Game Face: The state of bringing your very best to a particular task.
  • Playbook: Another sports reference that just means 'strategy'.
  • Deck: Fancy word for a massive PowerPoint presentation that some poor junior resource will sweat to no-end over and may never be used...for anything.
  • Loss-Leader: A good excuse for throwing investment (usually in the form of resources) at a target with no visibility of any ROI.
  • 'The Bob's': A reference to the movie 'Office Space' and the two Bob's, who are responsible for interviewing people and ultimately assess where to 'cut the fat'.
  • Straw-Man: An outline for a deck.
  • High-Burn: Code for 'you won't have a life'.
  • Strategy: A default term to describe any way of working at a problem.
  • Thrown Under the Bus: A figurative saying for somebody getting blamed for somebody else's mess.
  • It is what it is: An easy way to say "it's no longer my problem" or "I don't care".
  • Take it offline: An easy way to tell someone that their discussion points are not worthy enough for anybody to listen to.
  • Boil the ocean: The act of trying to do everything at once and accomplishing nothing.
  • Let's circle back: The act of essentially telling someone - "prove to me that it will make me money and then I might listen"
  • Think outside the box: "I can't think of anything good so come up with something better - just don't replicate my idea."
  • Limited bandwidth: "I may have time, but I will try to look very busy to show you I don't"
  • Out-of-Pocket: "I'm doing something more worthy of my time than anything you have, so don't bother me"
  • Unplug: The act of pretending you have work / life balance.
  • Move the Needle: Will this make us any money, if not, can it?
  • Drink the Kool Aid: The act of convincing somebody to do something that they have no idea what the purpose is, or what the potential ramifications is.
  • Go-to-Bat: A baseball analogy where a senior leader exercises his / her power to positively influence the performance of a more junior resource.
  • What Keeps You up at Night? Lack of Ambien? No. A question asked to executives about their foremost business problems, as if the list is not long enough.
  • I needed that yesterday: Code for you: 'You better move a$$ to get this done ASAP'.
  • Dashboard: No - not that thing in your car that tells you how fast your going and when you're about to run out of gas. A high level data output cover sheet that simply masks more data.