For Professionals

Workplace Jargon Dictionary

Last Updated:

May 19, 2023

Table of Contents

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Meaning: The improved version of something

Used in a sentence: "Let's call this the Strategic Plan 2.0"

 "30,000-feet view"

Meaning: In the broadest sense

Used in a sentence: "At the 30,000-feet view, the problem is..."


Meaning: Find the way that will lead to the most progress with the least amount of work

Used in a sentence: "We don't have time to do a full analysis. Let's 80/20 this."


"Action item"

Meaning: Something that has to get done

Used in a sentence: "Did any action items come out of the meeting?"


Meaning: To make it clear what someone needs to do

Used in a sentence: "Your email isn't actionable enough. What do you want the reader to do with your message?"

 "Add value"

Meaning: Contribute something useful

Used in a sentence: "That was a value-added comment you made."


Meaning: To officially announce the end of a meeting

Used in a sentence: "Meeting adjourned."


Meaning: A list of topics that will be covered in the meeting

Used in a sentence: "Make sure you send an agenda before the meeting to give people an idea of what to expect and so people have a chance to suggest changes."

 "Align upon"

Meaning: Agree upon

Used in a sentence: "Let's align on the meeting agenda first."


Meaning: "Accounts Payable" (The department inside of a company that is in charge of paying people the organization owes money to)

Used in a sentence: "Your reimbursement is an AP of the company."


Meaning: Sorry, but for professionals who don't want to say 'sorry'

Used in a sentence: "Apologies for the delay in responding."


Meaning: "Accounts receivable" (The department inside of a company that is in charge of receiving money from people who owe the organization money)

Used in a sentence: "Our AR is over the top. So many clients still haven't paid us for our services."


Meaning: "As Soon As Possible" (A marker for something you should probably do immediately)

Used in a sentence: "We need to respond to this ASAP."

 "At the end of the day"

Meaning: The most important consideration in the end

Used in a sentence: "At the end of the day no one is going to read this."



Meaning: "Business to Business" (A company that sells something to another organization)

Used in a sentence: "This furniture company makes most of its money selling B2B--by selling office chairs to companies."


Meaning: "Business to Consumer" (A company that sells something to an individual)

Used in a sentence: "This other furniture company primarily sells B2C to families and college students."



Backburner: Something that is a lower priority or that is being postponed for later

Frontburner: Something you should be working on as a top priority

Used in a sentence: "Let's put this project on the backburner for now."

"Ball in [someone's] court"

Meaning: Whoever is responsible for making the next move

Used in a sentence: "The ball is in the legal department's court. We need their approval before we can proceed."


Meaning: How much time you have

Used in a sentence: "I'm not sure I have bandwidth right now."


Meaning: Something that hints at the potential beginning of a trend

Used in a sentence: "The fact that so many customers are rating our product highly is a bellwether that this might be a hot product."


Meaning: Something to compare to

Used in a sentence: "50% margin sounds high. Is this in line with industry benchmarks?"

"Best practice"

Meaning: The most trustworthy, correct, or acceptable way of doing something

Used in a sentence: "We should look up some best practices from industry associations."

"Bite the bullet"

Meaning: Suck it up and do something difficult

Used in a sentence: "Let's just bite the bullet and fire this person."


Meaning: Get approval from someone higher up

Used in a sentence: "This report has been blessed by the VP."

"Blocking and tackling"

Meaning: Basic work needed to get something done

Used in a sentence: "The last week was spent on the basic blocking and tackling."

"Boil the ocean"

Meaning: Overcomplicate something simple by analyzing too many things at once

Used in a sentence: "Just do this one calculation. Don't boil the ocean."

"Brain dump"

Meaning: To give another person all the files or knowledge that one holds

 Used in a sentence: "Would you have 30 minutes in the coming days to do a brain dump on this project before you leave for vacation?"

"Broken record"

Meaning: To say something over and over again to the point where it's annoying

Used in a sentence: "Forgive me if I sound like a broken record on this, but I think it should be shorter."


Meaning: Dividing lots of information into different categories

Used in a sentence: "We collected a lot of feedback from our customer surveys. What are the major buckets of feedback?"

"Business case"

Meaning: Why it makes sense for a business to try something new

Used in a sentence: "If you are selling to a for-profit, the business case typically needs to be about how your solution will increase revenues and/or decrease costs. 


Meaning: To get someone's endorsement on something

 Used in a sentence: "Submitting this proposal to the procurement department before getting the department heads’ buy-in is a surefire way of getting nowhere. Set up a meeting with him first."



Meaning: A certain routine or pattern

Used in a sentence: "Would you like to meet on a weekly cadence?"

"Can of worms"

Meaning: An seemingly small issue that gets turned into a much bigger issue

Used in a sentence: "Let's not open that can of worms."

"Canary in the coalmine"

Meaning: A warning that some danger is ahead

Used in a sentence: "A lack of pre-orders may be a canary in the coalmine that this product will not sell well."


Meaning: The person in charge of orchestrating the meeting or leading a group of people (committee)

Used in a sentence: "Can you chair this meeting?"


Meaning: Either "a mentor who will advocate for you when you are not in the room" or "a person who is going to push a certain project through to approval"

Used in a sentence: "This project will die on the client side unless we find an internal champion who can own everything." 

"Chatham House Rules"

Meaning: Go ahead and use whatever information I'm about to tell you, but you didn't hear it from me and you definitely shouldn't share it with others

Used in a sentence: "Chatham House Rules apply to this meeting."

"Chime in"

Meaning: To contribute to a discussion

Used in a sentence: "Please chime in if you have any ideas."

"Circle back"

Meaning: Meet again at some later time

Used in a sentence: "Let's circle back once you've had a chance to draft something up."


Meaning: "Close of Business," which typically means at 5:00PM

Used in a sentence: "If someone tells you to get something to them by COB, they probably actually mean by 4:00PM to give them time to review your work before they leave at 5:00PM. If you aren't sure, ask for clarification."

"Committee/Task force/Working Group"

Meaning: A group of people who meet to discuss a certain set of topics and to make a certain set of decisions

Used in a sentence: "Let's split this large group up into sub-committees who can investigate each topic further and then return with recommendations."


Meaning: To ask for someone's opinion

Used in a sentence: "You should consult your manager before sending out a mass email."


Meaning: The background information others need to have to understand your point

Used in a sentence: "Before you dive in with the numbers, provide the audience with some context behind your research."

"Core competency"

Meaning: What we are really good at

Used in a sentence: "Design is not our core competency."


Meaning: What could have happened if a certain situation did not occur

Used in a sentence: "Sure, if we didn't hire this person we wouldn't end up with this big mess, but we don't have a counterfactual. Maybe this is an innocent mistake that everyone would have made."

"Critical path"

Meaning: The essential steps that must be completed to finish a project

Used in a sentence: "Identifying the critical path of a project helps you determine the minimum time needed to complete a project. 


Meaning: "Cover Your Ass" (To do something so that you don't get blamed for something later)

Used in a sentence: "You should write down what you agreed upon in email as a CYA move, just in case he changes his mind later."



Meaning: PowerPoint presentation

Used in a sentence: "Please update this deck with the latest numbers."

"Deep dive"

Meaning: Look into something more closely

Used in a sentence: "Let's do a deep dive on this topic tomorrow."


Meaning: Anything that needs to be produced

Used in a sentence: "The deliverable is a 10-page report."


Meaning: The difference

Used in a sentence: "The delta between the top-selling product and the second best selling product is massive."

"Dive right in"

Meaning: Start right away with whatever you wanted to discuss

Used in a sentence: "Let's dive right in. What do you need?"

"Dotted line vs. Solid line (reporting)"


Dotted Line reporting: A situation where two people work with each other, but where neither person has managerial authority over the other person

Solid line: A situation where person A is person B's boss

Used in a sentence: "I am dotted line to Eric and solid line to Lea. In other words, I work with Eric–and he sometimes gives me work–but Lea is the person who has the power to fire me."

"Dry powder"

Meaning: Extra, unused, resources (especially money)

Used in a sentence: "We have plenty of dry powder left for the upcoming quarter."

"Ducks in a row"

Meaning: To prepare everything necessary

Used in a sentence: "Let's meet with the VP once we have our ducks in a row."

"Drop the ball"

Meaning: Screw up

Used in a sentence: "Good job not dropping the ball on that presentation."

"Due diligence"

Meaning: Research to try and understand how legitimate something is

Used in a sentence: "I haven't done my due diligence on this candidate, but if you have, I'll trust your opinion. 



Meaning: "Executive Assistant" (to someone important)

Used in a sentence: "When setting up a meeting with someone important, work with that person's EA."

"Elephant in the room"

Meaning: An uncomfortable topic people would rather not discuss

Used in a sentence: "That was a useless meeting. People talked a lot, but never once addressed the elephant in the room."


Meaning: Talk to / Contact / Work with

Used in a sentence: "Don't forget to engage with the other team."


Meaning: "End of Message" (An acronym people put on a short message to signal that they are done–usually reserved for higher-ups who don't have to care about being polite and professional)

Used in a sentence: "Can you come to my office? EOM."


Meaning: "End of Day" / "End of Week" (Either end. of the workday/week–5PM/Friday–or end of the actual day–12AM/Sunday, so make sure you clarify if you aren't sure)

Used in a sentence: "I will get back to you by EOW."


Meaning: "Estimated Time of Arrival" (When you expect to show up somewhere)

Used in a sentence: "What's your ETA?"

"Executive decision"

Meaning: To make a decision yourself without putting a topic up for a group vote

Used in a sentence: "Don't waste people's time with a long poll for food preferences. Just make an executive decision."

"Executive summary"

Meaning: A bullet point list of the most important information, usually presented as a slide at the front of a long PowerPoint 'deck'

Used in a sentence: "When explaining ideas to people, start with the executive summary–then pause and let others react, rather than dive straight into the details."


"First pass/quick pass"

Meaning: The first draft of something / My quick skim of something

Used in a sentence: "Please find attached my first pass at a draft email for Joe. Let me know if you have any edits."


Meaning: To put some structure around a bunch of information (e.g. by putting it into 'buckets' or themes) or to create a methodical way of making a decision (e.g. creating a framework for deciding what types of initiatives to pursue)

Used in a sentence: "Given the many ideas floating around the team for blog posts, I suggest that we look at new content through the following framework: (1)"


Meaning: "Full-Time Employee" (someone who works for 40-hours per week or however many hours is considered full-time)

Used in a sentence: "This company has 5,000 FTEs."

"Function vs. Industry"


Function: The department inside of a company (e.g. Engineering, Human Resources)

Industry: The type of company (e.g. Technology, Retail)

Used in a sentence: "Pretty much all companies, regardless of function, have the same functions."


Meaning: "For Your Information" (Information you are sharing and that people don't need to reply to)

Used in a sentence: "FYI – the 2pm meeting has moved to room 203."


"Gantt chart"

Meaning: A chart that lists a series of tasks that need to get done as part of a project along the side, a list of upcoming dates on the top, and a series of bars in the middle showing when each of the tasks will get done

Used in a sentence: "Please put this project plan on a gantt chart so that we can visually see all the overlapping tasks that we need to get done at the same time."

"Get the ball rolling"

Meaning: Start something

Used in a sentence: "James – how about you get the ball rolling by giving your update first?"

"Give a heads up"

Meaning: Tell someone ahead of time

Used in a sentence: "Just a heads up that I will be on vacation starting tomorrow."

"Going forward"

Meaning: From this point on

Used in a sentence: "Going forward, Jen will be your main contact."


Meaning: Allow whoever signed up earlier to follow the old rules and be exempt from the new rules

Used in a sentence: "Should we raise our prices for everyone, or should we grandfather in our existing clients?"


Meaning: Specific

Used in a sentence: "This explanation is too vague. Can you be more granular?"

"Gut feel"

Meaning: Immediate reaction

Used in a sentence: "What's your gut feel towards this color scheme?"


"Hard copy"

Meaning: A print-out of a document

Used in a sentence: "Can you give me the next draft in hard copy?"

"Hard stop"

Meaning: A time when I definitely need to leave; otherwise, I will be late for my next appointment

Used in a sentence: "I'd love to chat, but I have a hard stop at 2:25pm. Is that okay with you?"

"Has legs"

Meaning: Has potential

Used in a sentence: "This idea may have legs. Let's bring it up in our next team meeting." 

"Headwinds vs. Tailwinds"


Tailwinds: Situations or factors that make something grow more or move higher

Headwinds: Situations or factors that make something move more slowly or move lower

Used in a sentence: "Falling gas prices are a tailwind to trucking companies because it costs less money to fuel their trucks, but are a headwind to gas companies that want to make more money."

"High level"

Meaning: The one-breath-or-less version of whatever you want to explain

Used in a sentence: "No need to explain it to me in a meeting.  Just tell me the high level takeaway right now."


Meaning: "Highest Paid Person's Opinion" or "Highest Paid Person in the Office"

Used in a sentence: "Just sit and take notes. There won't be much of a discussion because it's all up to the HiPPO."

"Hit the ground running"

Meaning: Be useful right away, without needing to bother others for help

Used in a sentence: "Can you meet with Carl so he can hit the ground running?”


Meaning: Your guess as to what will happen given what you know about the situation

Used in a sentence: "Before you begin analyzing any data, come up with a hypothesis."


"In the loop"

Meaning: Included in the conversation / Made aware

Used in a sentence: "Keep me in the loop on how things go." 

"In the pipeline"

Meaning: Things that people expect to happen or tasks that people expect to do

Used in a sentence: "What new product features do we have in the pipeline?"

"In your wheelhouse"

Meaning: Your specialty

Used in a sentence: "Python isn't quite in my wheelhouse."


Meaning: To give someone a reason to do something

Used in a sentence: "$20 gift cards could help incentivize people to take our survey."


Meaning: To take over for someone else

Used in a sentence: "I am inheriting John's financial model."


Meaning: A calendar invitation (typically from Outlook or Gmail)

Used in a sentence: "Send me an invite for this Thursday 2pm and we can catch up then."

"It is what it is"

Meaning: Something we can't change

Used in a sentence: "Jane leaving means more work for the rest of us, but it is what it is." 


Meaning: Work on multiple versions of something until it is perfect

Used in a sentence: "Don't just send. me the final version. Let's iterate upon this together."


"Key takeaways"

Meaning: The main point, idea, decision, or summary

Used in a sentence: "When others ask you for the key takeaways, first summarize everything into a single sentence, then offer to elaborate if others want more details."


"Lagging indicator/Leading indicator"


Lagging indicator: A signal that can give a sense for past performance

Leading indicator: A signal that helps us measure future performance

Used in a sentence: “Be careful about companies that are growing super quickly! Hyper-growth can be a leading indicator for a company that’s going to be the next big thing. Or, it could be a leading indicator of lots of layoffs ahead. Managers can sometimes get over-eager about a certain initiative, hire a ton of people, realize their idea doesn’t actually work, and then fire the people they just brought on. At the same time, be sensitive to how self aware the leaders of a company are. Self aware managers can often be a leading indicator of a company that will treat its people well.”

"Level set"

Meaning: Go over a topic so that everyone in the group has the same understanding of what is going on

Used in a sentence: "Since not everyone was able to attend last week's meeting, let's begin by level setting."

"Lever... to pull"

Meaning: “An action you can take to get a certain outcome.”

Used in a sentence: “When you’re up against a difficult coworker, going to someone’s manager to complain about can be a tempting lever to pull. It could work, but it could also backfire if the other person finds out and sees you as going behind their back.”


Meaning: Use

Used in a sentence: "Leverage the people around you. Don't be afraid to ask questions."

"Light a fire under (someone)"

Meaning: Pressure someone to do something

Used in a sentence: "Unless the CEO lights a fire under the team, I'm not sure it will go anywhere."

"Lipstick on a pig"

Meaning: To try and make something low quality look high quality

Used in a sentence: "Let's not put lipstick on a pig. This idea is terrible."

"Loop in"

Meaning: Include / involve someone (in a conversation)

Used in a sentence: "Mind looping me in on the email thread? CC me."

"Low-hanging fruit"

Meaning: Something that's easy to do, yet makes an impact

Used in a sentence: "Let's complete the low-hanging fruit tasks before tackling the tasks that will take several days."



Meaning: Substantial enough the people will notice

Used in a sentence: "Changing this assumption won't move the needle."

"Mission critical"

Meaning: The most important task that will make or break something

Used in a sentence: "We are in a hurry. Don't worry about anything that is not mission critical."


Meaning: An Excel file with a bunch of assumptions and formulas used to calculate something

Used in a sentence: "Can you model out our costs over the coming year?"

"Move the needle/Move the dial"

Meaning: Substantial enough that people will notice

Used in a sentence: "Don't worry, this won't even move the needle."


Meaning: "Mutually Exclusive and Collectively Exhaustive"

Mutually exclusive: categories that do not overlap

Collectively exhaustive: when everything being analyzed fits into one of the categories

Used in a sentence: "When structuring your ideas, make sure that you are MECE. Categorizing high school students into 9th grade, 10th grade, and 12th grade is MECE because high school students can only be in one of those categories. Categorizing high school students into teenagers, video gamers, and women is not MECE because someone can sit in more than one of those categories."



Meaning: The final result, after everything is taken into account

Used in a sentence: "Net-net, it was worthwhile to attend that conference."

"No worries"

Meaning: Don't worry about it

Used in a sentence: "No worries, I've made the same mistake before."


"Off the record"

Meaning: To discuss something without the conversation being recorded or shared with others

Used in a sentence: "Let's keep this conversation off the record."


Meaning: Not reachable

Used in a sentence: "I will be offline during. My hiking trip.”

"On board"

Meaning: To be in agreement with

Used in a sentence: "Make sure that Claire is on board with the email before sending it out to the rest of the group."

"On my radar"

Meaning: Draw to your attention

Used in a sentence: "I wanted to put this on your radar."

"On the same page"

Meaning: Be in agreement or have a common understanding on a certain topic

Used in a sentence: "Before you go off and start on an assignment, make sure that you and your manager are on the same page around when you should check in."


Meaning: "Out of Office" (When someone is on vacation or not available)

Used in a sentence: "Make sure you set an email OOO greeting before you go on vacation."

"Out of pocket"

Meaning: Either "not reachable by any form of communication" (because the person is on an exotic island) or "paid for by yourself"

Used in a sentence: "I will be out of pocket next week because I will be at a conference. I will be paying for the flights out of pocket because my company is stingy." 

"Open the floodgates"

Meaning: To give permission for others to do something that will overwhelm certain people

Used in a sentence: "Let's double-check this form before we make it live since we don't want to open the floodgates to questions from confused customers"


Meaning: How people perceive the situation

Used in a sentence: "It's bad optics if the intern presents to the client." 


Meaning: To find the most efficient or effective method of achieving a certain goal

Used in a sentence: "If you find yourself doing the same thing multiple times, try to optimize the way you approach the task by looking for a shortcut or more efficient approach."


Meaning: To give people the freedom to choose

Used in a sentence: "It's helpful to give your manager multiple options to choose between. Even if they choose the one you wanted all along, people appreciate optionality."



Meaning: Something that will solve every problem

Used in a sentence: "This solution may not be a panacea, but it will at least help us meet this upcoming deadline."

"Paradigm shift"

Meaning: Fundamentally change people's thinking

Used in a sentence: "Good luck trying to convince the team. I'm not sure they are ready for this paradigm shift."

"Pencil in"

Meaning: To roughly agree on (a date, usually)

Used in a sentence: "Let's pencil in next Monday at 2pm on the calendar and we can confirm on the morning of."

"Pick your brain"

Meaning: Ask for your perspective

Used in a sentence: "I'd love to pick your brain about this new project."

"Ping (someone)"

Meaning: Contact (someone)

Used in a sentence: "Ping me tomorrow at 2pm and we can chat then."


Meaning: To change directions, especially when it comes to a business’s strategy or focus

Used in a sentence: "At first, we thought we were selling our software to international students on an H-1B work visas. After further market research, however, we realized that our most avid paying customers are actually immigration lawyers, so we pivoted from selling B2C to selling B2B."


Meaning: A gathering of everyone involved in a project or committee who otherwise meet and work in smaller subgroups

Used in a sentence: "Let's host a plenary kickoff so that everyone has a chance to meet one another before splitting off into subcommittees."


Meaning: "Point of Contact"

Used in a sentence: "Who is the right POC for this initiative?"


Meaning: "Point of View" (Someone's opinion)

Used in a sentence: "My POV is that it's too early to ask for a raise."

"Pressure test"

Meaning: To find counter examples is an attempt to find exceptions or a rule, weak points to an argument, or something that was overlooked

Used in a sentence: "Have you pressure-tested the assumptions in your Excel analysis? I'm not sure this number is correct."

"Push back"

Meaning: To give a counterargument

Used in a sentence: "My only push-back to this idea is that it will take more than six months before we know if it will work." 

"Put on the backburner"

Meaning: Deprioritize whatever you are doing

 Used in a sentence: "Let's put this on the backburner for now." 



Meaning: "Quality Control" (To double-check something to make sure it works and that there are no mistakes)

Used in a sentence: "Let's QC this report one more time before sending it out." 


Meaning: A three month period in a company's financial calendar (e.g. Quarter 1 – or Q1 – represents the first 'quarter' of the year, which is usually January, February, and March)

Used in a sentence: "Our sales increased by 20% in 1Q2019."

"Quick wins"

Meaning: Something that is impactful and that doesn't take a lot of time or effort

Used in a sentence: "Acknowledging that John came up with this idea in the meeting is quick win for getting on John's good side."


"Red tape"

Meaning: Bureaucracy

Used in a sentence: "The approval involves a lot of red tape."

"Reinvent the wheel"

Meaning: To redo something from scratch rather than make use of other people's work

Used in a sentence: "When starting a new assignment, resist the urge to reinvent the wheel. Start by digging around to see if others have attempted a similar task before." 


Meaning: Whether you like something

Used in a sentence: "Please see below for my list of questions for the podcast. Does this resonate?"


Meaning: Money that an organization makes from others (via customers)

Used in a sentence: "Every business is interested in increasing its revenues and decreasing its costs.”

"Reverse engineer"

Meaning: To examine someone else's work to try and figure out how they did it

Used in a sentence: "This company says it made over $5 million last year. Dig through the prices of their products and whatever you can find about their store volume to reverse engineer how many customers they must have served."


Meaning: "Request for Proposal" (When an organization announces to the world that they would like other organization to send them a plan for solving on of their problems or meeting one of their needs

Used in a sentence: "This RFP is super long."


Meaning: A plan, calendar, or timeline

Used in a sentence: "Before you hide away for a month to work on this project, present your roadmap to your manager so you both agree on what needs to be done."

"Rocket science"

Meaning: Something that is really difficult

Used in a sentence: "This is not rocket science. Just update the slide."

"ROI (Return on Investment)"

Meaning: How much benefit you get for putting in a certain amount of money or time

Used in a sentence: "Let's rank these initiatives by their ROI."



Meaning: To do more of something with far less time or energy than it takes to do something once

Used in a sentence: "Allowing every customer who calls to speak with a human being within 10 seconds is not scalable because we'll need to hire more people."


Meaning: The boundaries for a project, where in-scope represents all the tasks that one can/should do in a project and out-of-scope represents all the tasks that are irrelevant

Used in a sentence: "Is pricing in scope for this conversation, or should we not talk about price at all–because it might turn people off–and wait until the next meeting?"


Meaning: Categorize

Used in a sentence: "Our customers can be broadly segmented into three categories: parents, ."

"Shiny objects"

Meaning: Attractive things that distract people

Used in a sentence: "Be wary of all the shiny objects you will come across. Focus on the main project."

"Shoot yourself in the foot"

Meaning: To screw yourself over

Used in a sentence: "Let's not shoot ourselves in the foot by setting a deadline we cannot meet."

"Skip manager"

Meaning: Your manager's manager

Used in a sentence: "Going to your skip manager with questions without first asking your manager can embarrass your immediate manager."

"Slippery slope"

Meaning: A situation where doing something gives permission for something worse to happen

Used in a sentence: "It's a slippery slope to promote this person ahead of schedule because it will lead to others asking for an early promotion too."


Meaning: Either "Subject Matter Expert" or "Small and Medium-sized Enterprise"

Used in a sentence: "Davis is an SME on SMEs." (a ridiculous sentence you will hopefully never hear)


Meaning: To share an idea with others to get their endorsement before a big group decision is made

Used in a sentence: "Make sure you socialize an idea around the team before you present it in a big meeting. If you don't, you run the risk that someone pushes back and embarrasses you publicly."


Meaning: "Scope of Work" or "Statement of Work" – a contract that states what work needs to be done, by when, and according to what timeline, for a project to be considered a success

Used in a sentence: "Can you please draft an SOW with our partners for me to review?"

"Spin your wheels"

Meaning: To put a lot of effort into something but not make any actual progress towards a certain goal

Used in a sentence: "If your manager asks you to write a 500-word blog post, set up a meeting or send an email to your manager after you brainstorm a few topics and after your write an outline of what you plan to write. If you don't, you risk spinning your wheels by polishing up an essay on the wrong topic and needing to start all over again."


Meaning: Anyone who is affected by something

Used in a sentence: "Parents are a stakeholder of their child's education."


Meaning: A rough draft or outline of something

Used in a sentence: "Don't just hide away for weeks and come back with a 20-page report. Give your manager a strawman first."

"Swim lane"

Meaning: Whatever you are responsible for

Used in a sentence: "Samir needs to stay in his swim lane and stop doing other peoople's tasks."


Meaning: Some extra benefit arising from two things being combined

Used in a sentence: "Since our teams are working on similar topics, there are a lot of synergies from us sitting close to each other."


Meaning: To look at the situation as a whole and summarize the main points (like the abstract or thesis statement of a paper)

Used in a sentence: "Can you synthesize this whitepaper?"


"Table (something)"

Meaning: To postpone discussion on a topic in a meeting

Used in a sentence: "Let's table this issue for now because we are running short on time."

"Table stakes"

Meaning: The bare minimum expectation

Used in a sentence: "Following instructions is table stakes in a new job. What really matters is whether you can go above and beyond what you were explicitly told to do."

"Take this offline"

Meaning: Let's follow up one-on-one later, rather than discuss in front of everyone right now

Used in a sentence: "Let's take this offline."

"Take to the next level"

Meaning: Improve

Used in a sentence: "Let's take this analysis to the next level."

"Think outside the box"

Meaning: Think more creatively / tell me something I don't already know

Used in a sentence: "I need you to think outside of the box more."

"Throw under the bus"

Meaning: Make someone look bad

Used in a sentence: "Wow, way to throw the intern under the bus!"


Meaning: To set a time limit for finishing something

Used in a sentence: "Let's timebox the next item on the agenda because we are running short on time and I want to make sure we end the meeting on time.”

"To your point"

Meaning: I am mostly interested in hearing myself speak, but I want to give you the sense that I was listening when you were talking earlier by relating my idea back to whatever you said

Used in a sentence: "To James' point earlier about needing to keep the videography team in the loop, perhaps we could send out a blast email with everyone CCed?"

"Too many cooks in the kitchen"

Meaning: There are so many people involved in getting something simple done

Used in a sentence: "Let's limit the meeting to 4 people so we don't end up having too many cooks in the kitchen."

"Touch base"

Meaning: Let's discuss further

Used in a sentence: "Let's touch base about this report."


Meaning: Measurable progress towards a goal or acceptance among a group of people

Used in a sentence: "Our tweet is getting traction on the Internet. It's been re-tweeted 100+ times."


Meaning: To arrive at an estimate by piecing together a bunch of available data points

Used in a sentence: "I couldn't find any data on customer traffic for the winter holidays of 2010, but, given that we have data for the rest of the year and customer traffic increases by 20% from November to December, I triangulated customer traffic by multiplying November's customer traffic by 1.2."

"Two cents"

Meaning: Opinion

Used in a sentence: "I think we can make this email shorter, but that's just my two cents. Feel free to send it if you want."




User Interface: whatever the user touches or interacts with

User experience: the process that a user takes to do something

Used in a sentence: "The UX of this form is terrible. There are so many buttons I need to click to get even simple things done. The UI also looks like it was made in the '90s."


Meaning: Explain in more detail

Used in a sentence: "I'm not quite familiar with this concept. Mind unpacking this concept for me?"


"Value prop/Value proposition"

Meaning: What makes something attractive

Used in a sentence: "The value proposition of this new service is that it helps companies cut costs."


"Wrap (one's) head around"

Meaning: Try to understand

Used in a sentence: "I'm still trying to wrap my head around whether this is even feasible."



Meaning: "Year to Date" (The period of time between January 1st of this year until now)

Used in a sentence: "What is our YTD website traffic?"