Corporate Speak

Have you ever played Corporate Bingo?  In my cubicle days, we used to play it at meetings or on training courses: we’d choose some typical corporate buzzwords, write them down on a piece of paper, and try to see how many of them would be uttered within a designated timeframe.  The one with the most correct ‘hits’ would mutter ‘Bingo’ sotto voce and be declared the winner.  This was the period when I could not write anything outside of work, because I felt weighed down by the jargon.

The poem below might make it clear why I prefer to use a pseudonym in my creative writing, for fear that my corporate clients may recognise themselves and me in this. It’s all a bit of good fun bingo – play along!

Worldwide employees



Blue sky thinking got us far, but leadership is now about

moving cheese, being humble, fearless, SMART,

all that resilient bouncing about of yellow balls

and off-site team building.


We action our deliverables,

bid stakeholders sit and learn.

We share and lip-synch when above-board,

while under the iceberg we hoard and fester.


No band-width for emotions unadorned,

no availability for unmediated connection.

We bang for the buck with coerced abandon,

munching our carrots, testing our sticks.


All I know is: the feedback sandwich is getting stale,

so last year, as is the corner office with parkside view.

Don’t pause to gaze, don’t ponder the disconnect!

You know the urge to disimpress.


40 thoughts on “Corporate Speak”

  1. OMG, do let’s brainstorm and aim for the North Star! No time to smell the roses here, time is money, speed is of the essence, we must manage that balanced scorecard. Where are those metrics ~ if we can’t measure it, we can’t manage it.

    LOL. I remember the days. Very well. Too well, hahaha! Great poem. Have you purged the ghosts of days past yet?

  2. My husband would recognize all those with him being a director of customer service. Agree with previous commenter. You have been thinking outside of the box!

  3. leadership is about moving cheese…ha…reminds me of that management book…can’t really remember who wrote it…great capture..the corporate world reminds me of a circus somedays…smiles

    1. Yep, that’s the one I was thinking of: ‘Who moved my cheese?’ – there was a time when I used to see it in every senior executive’s office. Thanks for visiting, reading and commenting, Claudia!

      1. smiles… enjoyed the re-read… i have read the book as well.. cannot remember much of it though….oy… maybe that’s why i’m not a senior executive… smiles

  4. Buzzword Bingo? Mais oui! But you are missing a few…It was the endless appearance of the word “exciting” that nauseated me and a friend at a corporate meeting ans started our game. Blecch! “It’s such an exciting time to be here with this exciting opportunity and our exciting new CEO…” And now everyone is providing “solutions,” whether you need them or not. As an editor, I’m irritated by (but forced to accept) the changes to our language that were initiated by the world of business. My all-time favorite is the use of “product” as a plural, as in “We have lots of product in the warehouse.” WHAT?!! Maybe in German, but not in English, please…

  5. Ahh…Marina, so glad I stopped back in–and thanks for stopping by my blog as it lured me back to the (I’m self-hosted now and all my buddies on seem “so far away” for some reason). Anyway, this poem–how in the world is it that you can take corporate speak and make it sound beautiful? I live in a cubicle now too, and I can say, oh wow, you hit it right on! You really need to gather your poems into an e-book and sell them. I’m a buyer. 🙂

    1. And very nice it is too to see you here again! Missed you! But I know what you mean – so many blogs, so little time, so you end up reading the ones that pop up most easily. Hold on in there, Bethany, I know it’s tough: just keep on taking notes of all the corporate speak and bizarre moments. Maybe you’ll write the script of a new ‘The Office’!
      Just came across Bukowski’s letter today about the dehumanising effect of office life, even more applicable in a recession: ‘Slavery was never abolished, it was only extended to include all the colors. And what hurts is the steadily diminishing humanity of those fighting to hold jobs they don’t want but fear the alternative worse. People simply empty out. They are bodies with fearful and obedient minds.’

  6. I thought I would ‘reach out’ since we don’t have ‘face time’ to take it ‘off line.’ This trip down corporate speak memory lane was a great ‘value add’ for my blogging today. Hope this wasn’t too ‘vanilla’ or ‘off point.’ Great post.

  7. It has taken me 4 years to fuggetabout the medical jargon & government speak I had to use daily for 27 years; but I have been successful up to a point; like you I still find myself dropping in some of that crap into my poetry, emails, FB, & Twitter; just too engrained to eradicate, I guess.

  8. Corporate bingo sounds like fun… But fortunately I work in an environment where my coworkers and I have no need to his behind silly buzzwords. Great piece!

  9. You got it right Marina! Very officious and typical of all those talk and language in countless memos in the filing cabinet. It is a relief not many of these are in emails of present day communication where action is expected fast and instructions are simple and direct.


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