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It’s a dog eat dog world out there, or at least it can feel like that when you immerse yourself in the world of corporate self promotion. A new language is being born out of business talk, and it’s not one that rolls off the tongue. Where has this lingo come from, and what is it doing to normal humans?

From our position on the outer reaches of corporate business land, the nonsense lingo of  ‘Bizzo’ has become ubiquitous enough that those who don’t get onboard begin to appear insufficiently driven and less successful. Bizzo-speak is stressful even to read, as the metaphoric layers stack up to create profiles for ultimate, all-conquering, mega-achiever business humans. Observe some examples that we lifted:

“I strive to infuse ingenuity with the power of boundless entity we call, imagination”

“I live at the intersection of art and commerce”

“Creating New Ideas and New Designs is not my dream, but my reality”

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We fully appreciate the benefits of online networking and self- promotional tooals, but the beating heart of Bizzo can be a pretty miserable place. Oneupmanship is often the order of the day, while buzz words, initialisms and acronyms dropped into a meeting or pitch shout; ‘I know my shit, I’m at the top of my game!’. These seem to have a darker goal of exclusion and humiliation – haven’t we all sheepishly had to ask what some new fangled acronym or productivity jargon actually means?

 

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Taking a step back from the coalface of cod-speak, it’s easy to draw parallels with Orwell, or perhaps Chris Morris, depending on how aggressive or ridiculous the phrasing. In his essay ‘Politics and the English Language’, Orwell coined the now famous ‘Newspeak’, which became the fictional language of Nineteen Eighty-Four. Although ‘bizzospeak’ doesn’t have the same double meaning, its intricacies would still rankle the language purist. But there is hope, Orwell’s essay was meant positively; he believed that better writing and more accomplished use of language can result in an improved society. “Modern English, especially written English, is full of bad habits which spread by imitation and which can be avoided if one is willing to take the necessary trouble. If one gets rid of these habits one can think more” Isn’t it sad that people are homogenising their true character and personality by adopting these super human alter egos, as if they see shame in the individual qualities that make them who they are? Recently, while writing my out of office auto reply, I got into a flap about use of the word ‘holiday’, worried that it didn’t sound as professional as ‘annual leave’. This is how it begins, and how it spreads.

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