Do you speak the business language?

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

In the company version 2018, where we necessarily are overbookedwe run from call to call – when it isn’t one conf call – before meetself workshop which will make it possible to set team in the loop. So everyone will know what’s up in the tubewant to know deadline of the project and returns home with a few pieces slides of Prez to prepare. Needless to say, the slides in question, the sexiest and customer-centric possible, is validated by CMO (marketing director). Inevitable: this is the normal process in an organization bottoms Up. Beware of those not focused on to do ! They are at high risk of burnout…

A French-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 (under penalty of going into the bin because French cannot be validated in any case) while the meetings where said documents are examined are cheerfully held in French under the direction 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, turned 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 Communications Officer, then attached to the Mkt/Comm department (marketing/communications), after a few weeks of onboarding punctuated by a weekend of team building…

Words from start-ups

“A language must reflect its time,” puts Jeanne Bordeau, president of the Institute for Expression Quality and specialist in business language, into perspective. “Today, the vocabulary of companies is largely inspired by words from start-ups, new technologies”. Suffixes straight out of technology 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 cyber security – funny prefix reminiscent of the 1950s and cybernetics. As for e-reputation, millennials — the thirtysomethings coveted by businesses — were born with it. In any case, beware of those who do not master the jargon: they will be considered 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 by word of mouth. Most often due to a too literal translation from English. “In the TGV, when the young employee on board says to me ‘I’m getting rid of you’, I ask her if she’s going to throw me out of the window,” protests Jeanne Bordeau. Same with the salesperson who innocently offers to “cash you in” when you’re on the verge of not cashing in, she…” Regarding the disastrous “I’ll get back to you” cue emails or calls, it means absolutely nothing…

Artificial intelligence to the rescue of grammar

The intransitive, one of the fundamental rules of the French language, is particularly abused. Social networks oblige, we no longer share our impressions, images or thoughts: the dreaded “I share you” has taken over in violation of grammatical rules. “Since we always want to go faster, the connecting words have also disappeared”, continues Jeanne Bordeau. “Thus”, “in spite of”, “although” or “however” have succumbed to the “at once” used in all sauces.

Oddly enough, it may be artificial intelligence and other chatbots that will save our grammar. “The robots say hello to us, are polite and end their conversations politely,” notes Jeanne Bordeau. “It is possible that through this the oral language is magnified again…” A kind of amplified language, in a way…

Which sentence annoys you the most?

Martin, 25, HR student : “Disruptive”…used incorrectly and through, even in pubs! Valérie, 53, editor: “Manager, manager…” What a horror! Bénédicte, 60, executive assistant : “I’m leaving you, I’ll call at 11”, generally uttered by people who look very important and call their wives. Jean-Michel, 57 years old, department manager : “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 at all. Armelle, 41, product manager : “Full speed” and “bullshit project”, one sometimes leads to the other! Karine, 52, decorator “I’ll take the lead if you don’t mind!” “What’s next?

Small encyclopedia “made in business”

  • Overbooked : overwhelmed, overloaded with work.
  • Call : phone call.
  • Conf. call : conference calls involving multiple people.
  • workshop : literally a workshop. Refers to a work meeting.
  • Team : crew.
  • bottoms Up : form 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 in 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 denotes 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, that brings together several professions with the aim of innovating in a collaborative way.
  • Customer-centric : literally customer-centric, focusing on their needs.
  • To do : short for to-do list, list of things to be done.
  • Global player : literally world player. Refers to globalized companies that have markets and offices around the world.

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