Business Phrasebook

From the Economist via The Passive Voice blog: The business phrasebook

This is bit that caught my eye:

“I hear you”

Ostensible meaning: You’re making a legitimate point
Actual meaning: Be quiet

I laughed. That seems just about exactly right.

They go on like that. Here’s my favorite:

“I’m just curious…”

Ostensible meaning: I’d like to know why you think that…
Actual meaning: …because it makes no sense to anyone else

Click through and see which ones strike you as most true-to-life.

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2 thoughts on “Business Phrasebook”

  1. Dutch business speech tends to be fairly straightforward and not very hierarchical, fitting in with Dutch people’s speaking habits in general.

    It is in fact known as something expatriate workers and managers need to adjust to, as it can cause misunderstandings and ruffled feathers in multinational circumstances. For instance if an English or French boss (where work speech is both more hierarchical and more circumspect) asks his team if there’s any criticism of his idea, and the Dutch new junior team member pipes up with things that could be done different and maybe better.

    There’s a (slightly joking) list like your linked article about that, but with an added column:
    What your foreign coworker says – what they mean by that – what the Dutch coworker thinks it means (generally a fairly literal interpretation).
    Something like this, though this isn’t the poster I saw somewhere before:

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