Do you speak the language of business?

Long gone are the days when an N+1 was called a line manager, where phone calls were made before the meeting to update colleagues on current projects.

In the company version 2018, where we are necessarily overbookedwe run from call to call – when it is not a conf call – before the meetingeven the workshop which will make it possible to put the team in the loop. So everyone will know what is in the pipewill know the deadline of the project and will return home with a few slides of the prez’ to prepare. Needless to say that the slides in question, the sexiest and customer-centric possible, be validated by the CMO (marketing director). Inevitably: this is the normal process in an organization bottom up. Beware of those who are not focused on the to do ! They are at high risk of burnout…

A Franco-English sabir is essential

In some CAC 40 companies, now declared global players, English has become the official working language, even in 100% Franco-French departments. Hence the surreal situations where the working documents are written in English (on pain of going to the trash can because French cannot in any case be validated) while the meetings where the said documents are examined are held cheerfully in French, under the leadership of a CEO who struggles to write an email in English… But his American assistant is in charge!

More than ever, a kind of Franco-English sabir is essential in companies, from the boss, transformed into CEO (Chief executive officer) to the last junior to arrive, at the end of a very successful talent acquisition campaign. . No doubt appointed digital or communication officer, then attached to the Mkt/Comm department (marketing/communication), after a few weeks of onboarding punctuated by a weekend of team building…

Words from start-ups

“A language must be a reflection of its time,” puts Jeanne Bordeau, president of the Institute for the Quality of Expression and specialist in corporate language, into perspective. “Today, business vocabulary is largely inspired by words from start-ups and new technologies”. Suffixes straight out of tech are logically on the rise: foodtech, edtech, insurtech should hold no more secrets for you, any more than the ecosystem or eco-design, or even cybersecurity – fun prefix reminiscent of the 1950s and cybernetics. As for e-reputation, millennials – those thirty-year-olds coveted by companies – were born with it. Beware in any case of those who do not master the jargon: they will be deemed insufficiently corporate, as Samantha Bailly reminds us in her book “Stagiaires. The survival guide” (Larousse).

This avalanche of Franglais, mixed with high tech connotations also leads to a real semantic distortion, according to the expressions that flourish on the web or orally. Most often due to a too literal translation from English. “In the TGV, when the young employee on board tells me “I’ll get rid of you”, I ask her if she intends to throw me out the window, protests Jeanne Bordeau. Same with the saleswoman who innocently offers to “cash you” when you are on the verge of not cashing it, she…” As for the disastrous “I’ll get back to you” that punctuates emails or calls, it means absolutely nothing…

Artificial intelligence to the rescue of grammar

The intransitive, one of the basic rules of the French language, finds itself particularly abused. Social networks oblige, we no longer share our impressions, photos or thoughts: the dreadful “I share you” has taken precedence in defiance of grammatical rules. “As we always want to go faster, the connecting words have also disappeared”, continues Jeanne Bordeau. The “Thus”, “despite”, “although” or “however” have succumbed to the “at once”, used in all sauces.

Curiously, it may be artificial intelligence and other chatbots that will save our grammar. “The robots say hello to us, are courteous and end their conversations with civility,” remarks Jeanne Bordeau. “It is possible that through this, the oral language is re-enlarged…” A kind of augmented language, in a way…

Which phrase annoys you the most?

Martin, 25, HR trainee : “Disruptive”…used wrongly and through, even in pubs! Valérie, 53, editor: “Manager, manager…” What horror! Bénédicte, 60, executive assistant : “I leave you, I have a call at 11 o’clock”, generally pronounced by people who look very important and go to call their wives. Jean-Michel, 57 years old, head of department : “The processes”, “the DNA of the company” and everything that ends in a tick: problematic, thematic…

Mathias, 36 years old, consultant “It ticks all the boxes…”. No, actually, it doesn’t tick anything at all. Armelle, 41, product manager : “Full speed” and “bullshit project”, one sometimes leading to the other! Karine, 52 years old, decorator “I’ll take the lead, if you don’t mind!” ” What next ?

Small lexicon “made in company”

  • Overbooked : overwhelmed, overloaded with work.
  • Call : phone call.
  • Conf call : conference call involving several people.
  • workshop : literally a workshop. Refers to a work meeting.
  • Team : crew.
  • bottom up : mode of management (or reflection) which starts from the field to go to the higher hierarchical levels.
  • On boarding : literally “boarding”. Refers to the period of integration into a company.
  • Deadline : deadline, deadline.
  • Prez’: presentation, most often made using a PPT (Powerpoint) including many slides (literally slide, by extension: page of the presentation).
  • talent acquisition : today designates recruitment.
  • Pitch : concise and powerful presentation.
  • Lab : laboratory, refers to a place generally dedicated to new technologies, sometimes hosting start-ups.
  • Hackathons : event, sometimes in the form of a competition, bringing together several professions with the aim of innovating in a collaborative way.
  • Customer-centric : literally customer-centric, focusing on their needs.
  • To do : abbreviation of the to-do list, list of things to do.
  • Global player : literally world player. Refers to globalized companies, which have markets and offices around the world.

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