"Reaching out"


We’ve had ducks in a row, and elephants in the room, and ticked boxes, blue sky thinking, impacts and outcomes, deliverables and drivers and even envelopes, but I have now heard the phrase “reach out” three times in a month, as in “I will reach out to Janet to schedule an appointment”. I think they mean contact, email, get in touch with, phone or whatever. Am I the only one who thinks ‘reach out’ is what you do to someone in need?

Is this a new example of management-speak or have I not been listening carefully enough recently? Where on earth did this come from?


haha! I often wonder these things myself Janet… We have “story/journey” being used here quite a lot, and my mother overuses the word “support” rather liberally.


Caroline, your reply reminds me that a banker I know casually commented one day that the Lloyds TSB strapline, ‘for the journey’ was totally meaningless! And in turn that reminds me that all three instances of ‘reach out’ have been uttered by people who work with banks… perhaps they are the pioneers of some of this nonsense?

I was in a meeting the other day when one of the ‘reach out’ guys referred to KPIs. Eh? “Key Peformance Indicators”. Oh no. And he’s such a nice chap too. I just can’t bear the jargon.

I remember a BBC series on the English language in which Ian Hislop did a section on management-speak, concluding that its whole aim was not to communicate but instead to intimidate and confuse. Indeed the editorial in The Week last Friday quoted some of these jargon words and the fact that John Humphrys refused years ago to attend any more meetings at the BBC because they were a waste of time and full of meaningless phrases.

Rant over.


One of Paul’s scouser mates told another mate (both in the RAF) he was ‘made up’… He meant he was happy, but his colleague thought he meant he had been promoted!

Language is a funny thing…


Could it be the banks have spent all their time in meetings using these menaingless phrases which is how they ended up in this mess???

I used to sit in meetings playing “bingo” with my assistant - each had 5 words first one to insert them all into the conversation got coffee bought for them… (we’d switched the office coffee to decaff for a bit to see what would happen). It did get a bit silly after a while - I can’t believe no one ever twigged!!! It was rather a strange place to work though…


Hahaha Caroline,

Leon and his colleagues often do that in pointless meetings.

Yes, “going forward” seems to be the latest management/leadership babble. It is meaningless though because surely we all want to be heading forward because the options are standing still or going down the tubes :slight_smile:



Caroline: Interesting - we used to play the bingo the other way round. We’d all sit in a meeting with a list of the current in-house jargon (‘majoring on minors’ was one of them) and we were supposed to say ‘bingo’ when we’d heard examples of all of them - of course, the bosses who used the jargon didn’t know and in fact we never had the nerve to do it, but we’d catch each others’ eyes which was the next best thing!

Debs: I thought you were going to say he’d been playing with mascara!

Sarah: Yes, ‘going forward’ is awful. ‘Real time’ irrates me too!