Socialize this!

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I received many emails about my blog post “Brilliant Scheme,” which translated some Britishisms to American English. Most people (mainly the Brits) wanted me to translate some Americanisms back. Interestingly, the words they suggested I translate are typical bad business buzzwords that I recommend people on both sides of the Atlantic avoid altogether. Here are some:

1. “Let’s socialize this plan.” Where I come from “socialize” (or in the UK ”socialise”) means “to mix socially,” or “to party down.” Recently, the word has been used in some organizations to mean “talk to people to get consensus.”

2. “Circle back when you’re done.” Don’t spin around or anything, it just means, “Get back to me.”

3. “Reach out to Sally.” Before you contact, uh, reach out to HR and complain about employee harassment, recognize that “reach out” seems to have replaced what we used to do, which is call or email. I don’t recommend reaching out too much; be more specific about what you want someone to do. Besides, some people don’t like to be touched. And you have to watch out for germs.

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