Two hundred years on, a new vernacular has been developed which does the exact opposite. If you've sat through a meeting or applied for a job in the last ten years, you'll know what I'm talking about.
For most people, exposure to the dreaded "business speak" can result in a quiet, despondent grief and gnashing of teeth. Here are the ten worst examples, in my opinion, of this God-awful language.
1. Close of Play
Remember when the word "play" referred to spending time with your friends or your toys, when your only worry was what your parents were going to make for supper?
Not any more. "Play" is now the 8 hours you spend doing thankless menial tasks, and its' closing is a small, fervent joy you look forward to every day.
2. Touch Base
If you're like me, you don't want anybody touching anything belonging to you, let alone your base. Special places in hell are reserved for those who like to touch base regularly.
3. Low-Hanging Fruit
The only low-hanging fruit worth picking are grapes in a French vineyard, with the summer sun on your back and the sweet promise of alcohol for your efforts.
4. Going Forward
The term itself isn't so bad, but rather the context in which it tends to be used. It's usually employed by an over-eager management-type, who wants to change working practices in order to make themselves look better.
5. Getting your Ducks in a Row
Nobody is quite sure where this phrase comes from. Some argue that it originates from the sport of bowling, others from shooting mechanical ducks at the fairground. Two activities you'd much rather be doing than sitting in the office.
6. Joined-Up Thinking / Working
A particular bug bear of mine, as it usually involves having to work with other people. Check out this clip from Channel 4's The IT Crowd for a reminder on the importance of being a team player.
7. Drill down
A phrase as enjoyable as a dentist drilling down into your tooth for a root canal, it's usually followed by additional work on a task you've already done.
Nope, it's not the name of the Simon Cowell's latest girlband on The X Factor. Similarly to number 6 on our list , this term is all about working together towards an agreed goal. Nothing beats the synergy of everybody rushing to leave the office at 5PM, though.
Actions are executed on a daily basis to add value to deliverables in line with our mission statement and customer journey.
Translation: Stuff gets done.
10. Bite the Bullet
This phrase apparently dates back to the British Empire, where solders would have to bite open cartridges containing gunpowder for their rifles.
Nowadays, it's used when you finally get round to doing that task you've been putting off all week. Yes, that one. You should probably go do it now.
Those are my favorites. Let me know what yours are!