Business and managerial speak doesn’t just belong to the likes of words like leverage. Here are two more words that are used to weasel and manipulate.
Last week I was doing some grocery shopping and watching a teenage boy and girl horsing around in a deli section. The boy, maybe 16, was tossing an energy drink bottle up in the air and catching it. Then he didn’t catch it and energy juice spilled all over the floor.
Then he said, “Oh no! Unfortunately, I’ve spilled my drink.”
Yeah – BECAUSE YOU WERE BEING STUPID, YOU STUPID TEENAGER!
The boy went up to the deli counter and reported the spill, saying “Unfortunately, I had a bit of a spill.”
Think of this when people start sentences with the word unfortunately. What they’re about to do is cover up some bad news as if it was out of their hands. They’re going to pretend like they’re some stupid teenage boy who just made a mess, had no control over it, and shouldn’t face any repercussions. It was, after all, an unfortunate incident.
“Obviously, the answer is X.”
I mean, we all know this – right? Obviously we do, because if we didn’t I wouldn’t preface what I just said with the word obviously. And if you question this you’ll look stupid. You don’t want to look STUPID, do you?!
How would you look stupid? Because it’s obvious. Why don’t you GET it? It’s so obvious!
But maybe it’s not. What are the obvious things in life? Water is wet. The sky is blue. The Big Bang Theory is a terrible show.
Here’s what obvious is: it’s an attempt to shut down debate before it even starts. People who use the word like this don’t want to argue to support their position. They want to suspend critical thinking. They want everyone to fall in line. Their line. They just want you to go along to get along. If you don’t have any backbone that’s exactly what will happen.
Don’t let it.