Stop Thinking Out of the Box at the End of the Day

Can the Corporatespeak, Win a Prize

By Published on .

"At the end of the day, we need to monetize our assets to give clients a solution."

Doug Zanger Doug Zanger
I actually heard the phrase above in a meeting once. What was frightening was that the person said it with such conviction and the rest of the room nodded in borderline zombie-like agreement. I actually laughed out loud a little after it was said and I was shot a death-stare that still ranks as one of the best I have ever seen. I apologized later in the day and the person who said it graciously accepted my apology and added, "I can't believe that came out of my mouth." Riotous laughter ensued.

We ALL toss out corporatespeak. You do it. I do it. But can we all agree that sometimes it gets a little excessive? Can we all agree that the person who coined "At the end of the day" should have to pay some kind penance? And can we also agree that the word "solution" has become something beyond cliché. (We ran two "solutions" parodies on The Playhouse (www.radioplayhouse.com) back in 2003 to make that point.)

Some of the things we say in a business environment are just asinine. Corporatespeak is kind of like Welsh. It's use is limited and it's only spoken in one place. Do you go home to your family and say, "Son, I'd like to see you maximize your efficiency in Physics. At the end of the day, we're trying to get you to the next level so that you can attend NYU." Of course you don't. If you do, you probably need a hobby.

Again, I am not trying to be sanctimonious about all of this. I reiterate the point because I am certain that I will piss someone off. But before you start swinging at me, please bear in mind: I DO THE SAME THING YOU DO. That said, I am trying to change and take a more human approach. And it is actually a fun little game. For example, instead of "finding a solution," I have used "finding your true voice in the market." "At the end of the day" has been swapped out with "When you really think about it." Sure, it may be in the gray area, but at least it's a shot. Because, let's face it, at the end of the day, we're all here to communicate on behalf of ourselves and our clients to meet their needs and provide them with the best solutions possible to help find robust revenue and market opportunity.

Damn. I have SO much more work to do on this.

The Can the Corporatespeak Contest
OK. So here's the game. Below is a list of some corporatespeak plus three blank spaces for you to fill in the corporatespeak you hear. Find a replacement (serious or not) for each. That's 11 words you need to come up with. The top three entries will win a prize. 1st place: a High-Def radio, 2nd place: $100, 3rd place: the coveted $25 Red Lobster gift card. Creativity is encouraged. Please send all entries to dzanger@mac.com. We will compile two weeks' worth of entries then announce the winners. (Editor's note: This is a Doug Zanger-run contest and Ad Age bears no responsibility if he issues counterfeit money or the Red Lobster gift certificate is useless due to your shellfish allergy.)

Corporatespeak

  1. Solution
  2. At the end of the day
  3. Monetize
  4. Robust (I say this one all the time)
  5. Optimize ROI
  6. Viral Marketability
  7. User generated content
  8. Incentivize
  9. ____________
  10. ____________
  11. ____________
Again, your task is to come up with an additional three (3) corporatespeak phrases . . . and then a replacement for all 11. Good luck.
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