Tag Archives: Doublespeak

Do you doublespeak?

Management is often blamed for doublespeak. Quite often, it is blamed on management’s ineffectiveness and immaturity to cut the c**p and come straight to the point, however, truth be told, it might as well be its hard-earned and well-deserved ability :). Only the very best of managers have such gift of the gab and an extremely fertile vocabulary to manage a tricky situation with professional finesse. Average managers might not only find themselves at short end of the stick dealing with tough situations, they might even be inept in using doublespeak for a bonafide reason to save their company, job, credibility or life – whichever happens to be more important at that point.

Is it incorrect to use doublespeak? Illegal? Immoral? Unethical? Noncommital? Dishonest? Unprofessional? Immature? Employee-unfriendly? Slander? I don’t know the answer. Different people have different take on it, but I am sure pretty much everyone among us must have used it sometime or other to get out of a minefield. While the intent may not have been to cheat or mislead others, it perhaps gave you that extra time or ability to get your act together while people, still not fully convinced, at least stopped baying for your blood for now! At other end of the spectrum, such fine skills might also be handy in avoiding giving an opinion or a feedback when someone puts you in a spot, and there is no way you are going to speak up your mind in public.

So, if such are the untold virtues of doublespeak, why don’t they teach it in B-schools? I mean, come on, let’s not kid ourselves. We are all grown-ups here who understand our own moral, values and ethics and pretty well understand the invisible fences of responsible behavior at workplace. Given that no classroom prepares you for real-life snafus, why not stop pretending that corporate life is a bed of pink roses, and instead, prepare people to better face those tough moments with grace and deftness of a master.

Here are some of the jewels of corporate doublespeak that I have picked up from the net (source unknown, but duly thanked and acknowledged). They are simply marvelous, and can take your ability to handle tricky situation, public speaking skills and stage confidence to levels you never thought were possible. Here it goes:

  • “We will do it” means ” You will do it”
  • “You have done a great job” means “More work to be given to you”
  • “We are working on it” means “We have not yet started working on the same”
  • “Tomorrow first thing in the morning” means “Its not getting done… At least not tomorrow !”.
  • “After discussion we will decide – I am very open to views” means “I have already decided, I will tell you what to do”
  • “There was a slight miscommunication” means “We had actually lied”
  • “Lets call a meeting and discuss” means “I have no time now, will talk later”
  • “We can always do it” means “We actually cannot do the same on time”
  • “We are on the right track but there needs to be a slight extension of the deadline” means “The project is screwed up, we cannot deliver on time.”
  • “We had slight differences of opinion” means “We had actually fought”
  • “Make a list of the work that you do and let’s see how I can help you” means “Anyway you have to find a way out no help from me”
  • “You should have told me earlier” means “Well even if you told me earlier that would have made hardly any difference!”
  • “We need to find out the real reason” means “Well I will tell you where your fault is”
  • “Well… family is important, your leave is always granted. Just ensure that the work is not affected” means “Well you know…”
  • “We are a team” means “I am not the only one to be blamed”
  • “That’s actually a good question” means “I do not know anything about it”
  • “All the Best” means ” You are in trouble” 

Indeed, what an inspiring collection – it shows and how! It must have taken years of practice to achieve such fine level of perfection. Perhaps its time to take such doublespeak out of its inglorious past and elevate to craft status, where it so rightfully belongs :).

Do you doublespeak?