EVERYONE DOES IT, INCLUDING YOU. EMPLOYEES OFTEN ATTEMPT TO win co-workers' respect with customized vocabulary, even at the risk of sounding pretentious. Due to the nature of many occupations, however, technical terminology is often necessary. In a March 31 posting at EchelonMagazine.com, consulting experts Christine Lambden and Casey Conner, authors of “Everyday Practices of Extraordinary Consultants” (Red Line Publishing Group, 2008), offered “12 workplace phrases you probably don "t know ... but should.” Examples that spark interest and allow you to fit in without provoking condescension or artificiality: “Boil the ocean”: a project so large it must be broken up into parts. “We're not trying to boil the ocean. We just need to ...” when attempting to regulate costs and avoid an overly ambitious venture. “Drink the Kool-Aid”: Determinately performing a task or following a leader without knowing the affected outcome. “He drank the Kool-Aid,” meaning, he bought the company line. “Greenfield instance”: A clean installation of an application without customizations or configurations. “Talking to the dog”: To think through an issue by talking it through out loud. The remaining list can be viewed at www.echelonmagazine.com. —Tanya Meyer
EVER THOUGHT YOU'D SEE A TOP MARKETING EXECUTIVE UP ON A Second City stage doing true improv-style comedy? Well move over, Tina Fey. On April 29, this became a reality as 100 business leaders from companies, including Priester Aviation, Primary Insights and W.W. Grainger, flocked to Chicago "s comedy hub for a survival training course led by Second City Communications and hosted by the Marketing Executives Networking Group (MENG). Designed to teach business leaders to think and adapt as swiftly and deftly as improvisational actors, the course was an interactive experience in “confront[ing] uncertainty, fear and risk,” according to promotional materials. Kevin Masi, event organizer and active member of MENG, said the Evening Marketing Leadership Seminar with Second City took “the economic downturn as an opportunity for marketing leaders to push their boundaries with risk-taking within their organization through improv and interaction.” Masi said this format was more effective than panel discussions since it offered real-time feedback from course leaders and participants alike. The course cost $35 for MENG members and $45 for guests—a small price to pay for acquiring Second City fame. —Godhuli Chatterjee
MAY I HAVE YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE? CHICAGO-BASED COMMUTER Advertising is tapping into a first-of-its-kind market to aid the nationwide mass transit budget crisis. Operating on the Dayton, Ohio, RTA since July, the company delivers patented, short-form audio advertisements between stop announcements on buses and trains. For every 10 stops, commuters listen to one 10-second ad that plays over the PA system and view text scrolls on LED screens. Ads are geo-coded toward specific stops, so information is relevant to riders. Commuter Advertising uses existing equipment, so there is no cost to mass transit, and advertising profits are shared. The concept presents an innovative way for beleaguered mass transit companies to avoid layoffs, service cuts and fare increases. “We offer free PSAs and route change announcements to transit companies, as well as 5% free inventory. We also encourage advertisers to participate in programs offering discounts to RTA riders, so it's really a great investment for mass transit [and] the entire community as well,” said Brian Rosen, operational partner at Commuter Advertising . On April 30, the Champaign-Urbana Metro Transit District became the first system in Illinois to adopt CA technology, doubling the company's reach to 21 million riders. —T.M.