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  • Writer's pictureYouthCast AKLTG

Everything You Need to Know about #CorporateSpeak but was too afraid to Ask

So they say the pen is mightier than the sword. And words can make or break you.

Indeed, when you enter any country, culture or organisation you realise that words don’t only play an important role in the way you communicate, they can also shape your mindset or behaviour.

If you are a zillenial, you would be familiar with the words like “Slay,” “Stan” or “Salty”.

If you are a boomer, those same words would mean a different thing altogether.

In the same way, when we enter into the organisation or workplace, you need to get familiar with the words and corporate speak being used. Lest you get lost in translation. Or confusion. And get left behind.


Have you ever been in a conversation at the workplace and pretended you understood everything that others were saying?


Here are 15 Workplace Slang/Lingo that you should know. And what you can do to maximise these words to your advantage.

So that when you do enter your place of work, you don’t look like a duck out of water. Or like the zillenial would say it , “You’d slay it!”

Even though it’s only your first day of work.

1) Background Check

In simple English: To check your background to see if you will be a good fit for the organisation

Action Item: Every organisation would do their due diligence and background check before they actually hire you. That’s why you need to have your character referees ready to vouch for your character and attitude. And one more thing- keep your social media feeds SUITABLE FOR WORK.

2) Bandwidth

In simple English: The time and capacity to take on additional tasks

Action Item: When you are new to the organisation, expand your bandwidth first so that you can learn as many things across different tasks or functions as fast as possible. But of course know your limits. When you think you are reaching your limits, either ask for help or delegate the task.

3) Buy In

In simple English: Agreement

Action Item: When you work in an organisation, having the buy-in of the key people are important. This could be your boss, the investor, the people who make the decisions. Or your clients. So here’s what you can do – whatevet it is you are doing, always get the buy-in of the key people by showing them how the work you are doing is aligned with the goals they want to achieve.

4) Deliverables

In simple English: An outcome of your work that can be physically seen

Action Item: In the world of work, it is good to work hard but it is more important to work smart. It is important that the work you do can be seen. If your work is visible, this could unlock more opportunities to progress in your career. So ensure that whatever you do, deliver on the deliverables.

5) Due Diligence

In simple English: Formally it means the research and analysis a business does about a person/organisation it is about to enter into a business partnership with

Action Item: Even your work needs due diligence. Like before you suggest an idea to your boss, do your research first. Like know the pros and the cons. Back up with evidence. Research if this idea has been carried out before. Analyse the risks versus benefits. Then go to your boss or team with an idea that is already backed up because you did your due diligence.

6) FYI

In simple English: For Your Information.

Action Item: Keep yourself updated with the latest information that is made available. Most people might pass over an “FYI” document but if you keep yourself informed and updated, you would look like you are taking your job seriously and is prepared to act on the information when the opportunity arises.

7) Leverage

In simple English: To use full advantage of a resource. For example you might hear at the workplace “Let’s leverage on the government subsidies to kickstart our marketing campaign!”

Action Item: Look out for opportunities where you can be more productive, achieve more, bring more quality or do more with less. It could be a resource like an online tool, a government subsidy or even professional advice such as having access to a mentor. When you are armed with things to leverage on, it gives you major workplace clout.

8) Low-Hanging Fruit

In simple English: An initiative that is easy to implement that can produce immediate results

Action Item: Always look out for low-hanging fruit to increase the revenue of your organisation, increase productivity or do more with less. Then when the opportunity comes, you can share this idea or even take the initiative to implement it.

9) Performance Review

In simple English: A review of your work performance over a period of time.

Action Item: Ensure you know what your roles and responsibilities are and quantify them. For example- reached 80 per cent of my sales target for the year. And be prepared to share what you think you did well, what you think you can do better and what you can learn. And most importantly if there is a gap in your performance and the organisation’s expectations, what you are willing to do to close the gap.

10) Personal Branding

In simple English: Your professional reputation

Action Item: Your personal brand is essentially what others say or think about you behind your back. And if you don’t give them things to say, they will make it up on their own.

So always seek to build your personal brand. Every single thing you do- how you interact, how you respond to crisis, how you present yourself contributes to your personal brand. Even what you post online, how you comment or share shapes what people perceive of you. Your personal brand is what will get you promoted, hired or even headhunted to your dream opportunity.

11) SOP

In simple English: Standard Operational Procedures. Rules and Protocols on how things should be done within the organisation.

Action Item: Make sure you familiarise yourself with the SOPs. The SOPs of the workplace differs from the rules you had in school. Just that in the corporate world, sometimes there is no “teacher” around to enforce the rules. And every organisation have different SOPs. To fit in fast, follow the SOPs. You would look like you were more than prepared to work in the organisation.

12) Synergy

In simple English: Collaboration or Co-Operation

Action Item: Always find ways that you can complement others at your workplace. When you can cover up the weaknesses of others or add value to a team which does not have a specific set of skills or knowledge, you not only enhance synergy, you get to level up your rep, or to speak in corporate lingo-build your personal brand.

13) Touch Base

In simple English: We’ll talk about it again later/soon.

Action Item : Keep the topic to touch base at the back of your mind. Or do some advanced research about it. So that when a colleague or your boss touch base with you at the right time, it seems that you are so well informed about the topic already. Another tip? If the topic is not brought up for some time, you could be the one to go to your colleague or boss to touch base with them about it.

14) Turnover

In simple English: Rate of people entering and leaving the organisation.

Action Item: Upskill yourself and keep yourself relevant so that you remain valuable to any organisation you are a part of.

15) Value Add

In simple English: Contribute beyond what is expected of you.

Action Item: In today’s workforce, everybody have access to the skills and knowledge. What makes you outstanding and memorable would be how you can value add to others beyond what they expected. After finishing your tasks, then ask yourself what else can I do to make things better? Begin with small tasks such as being the IT support expert or how to enhance the presentation slides. These little acts can help you become a real asset that makes you valuable to any team in your organisation

So how do you feel about your corporate vocabulary now?

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