The Friday Funny: Faulty-tasking, relanguaging and other buzzwords for consulting

“A consultant is someone who borrows your watch to tell you what time it is.” We all love some good consultant jokes – especially our readers who are evaluation commissioners. And evaluation consultants can always smugly nod that those bearing the real brunt are actually business consultants rather than evaluators!

One of the most important tools of the consulting trade are ‘buzzwords':

buzz.word (buz´wûrd) n. A usually important-sounding word or phrase used primarily to impress laypersons.

For those who have always wanted a Babelfish to help decipher consultant-ese, look no further than some of the gems from the brilliant website! (buz´wak er) n. A person who receives some degree of pleasure in bursting the bubbles of the pompous.

Here is just a modest sample of some of our favorites for consulting – you can check out the full collection at the site!

DBT: Death By Tweakage. When a product or project fails due to unnecessary tinkering or too many last-minute revisions.

document polish: Fancy phrases and buzzwords added to reports or other documents that sound important or impressive — but add nothing meaningful to the content.
Nominated by David Miller

engagement synopsis: The latest in consultant-ese. An “engagement” is the work a consultant does for a client. “Synopsis” is an outline of that work. Together they’re simply a summary of a case study used to promote the consultant’s business.
Nominated by Dave Brooks

faulty-tasking: When multi-tasking goes awry.
Nominated by Mike Knox

high level: To focus on the “big picture,” as in “Let’s keep this discussion on a high level.” Frequently used as a way to avoid discussing the details of a project by those who really don’t really know what’s going on.
Nominated by Walter Hull

pocket of resistance: Military term borrowed by business to describe a person or committee that attempts to stall or kill a project by nitpicking it to death or simply letting it die by not returning your calls.
Nominated by Ward Smith

relanguage: Term used by $300-an-hour consultants when $5 words, such as reword, rephrase or rewrite, would work just as well. “I think we can relanguage that to be more effective.”

time frame: Term used to make it sound as if a job will be done at a future date (We’ll do that in the June time frame), but more often signals that the job will never be completed at all.
Nominated by Andrew Lord

thinko: A cognitive error or mistake. Unlike a “typo,” a thinko occurs solely in the brain and doesn’t necessarily transfer to your fingers.
Nominated by Gary Meller

time toilet: Any project, assignment, meeting, etc., that takes more time than expected — effectively flushing away whole your day.
Nominated by Jonathan Vehar

1 comment to The Friday Funny: Faulty-tasking, relanguaging and other buzzwords for consulting

  • David Earle

    Pocket of resistance … 2. The person that keeps asking sensible questions that point to major flaws in the project’s viability or even its very existence.