Yet More Bad Business Jargon

Can you flip me the deck?

No, but I’ll happily send you the slides.

When people talk about doing a page-flip through a document, it always make me think it will be a superficial job.

Let’s be less casual, more thorough and less jargon-y: read, review or go through that document.

Skill up
Using skill as a verb is unobjectionable in constructions involving its past participle, skilled: Nancy is a skilled practitioner of municipal law.

But that’s really the only verb form you should be using. Don’t skill up; instead, be trained, get training, learn skills.

This can usually be avoided by merely using some formulation with time or when.

Not What’s your time-frame? but simply When do you need it? Or perhaps What’s your timing? Instead of within this time-frame, just during this period (or time).

Touch base
Apparently this derives from baseball.

It is used in business English to mean something along the lines of ‘make brief contact with someone, in order to gauge a reaction or just to say hi’.

Useful as shorthand for that, but definitely a business cliché. Try to avoid.

And it now has a NSFW definition you may not wish to invoke.

Neil Guthrie (@guthrieneil)


  1. This phenomenon has been studied. The research shows that upper-level management in businesses find employees who use this type of “business-insider” language less credible.

    So if you want to improve your ability to persuade, avoid this type of language.

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