There’s a lot of jargon out there in the working world, and you only really need to know a fraction of it. We’ve collected the most common office lingo right here for your perusal. Learn well, young padawan, and you’ll soon be speaking tongues...

Essential Phrases:

Going forward – alt. moving forward

As in: “We’ll take that into account, going forward.” Basically means ‘in the future’.

Low-hanging fruit

A term used for ‘easy business’ or a ‘quick win’.

Get all my ducks in a row

‘Sort myself out’/’Get organised’.


A Powerpoint presentation. Yes, like the ones you did in school.


As in: “We need to incentivise our workforce.” Means ‘motivate’, basically.


As in: “Let’s action that.” It means ‘do’ something.

Not enough bandwidth

As in: “Sorry Dave, could you give it to Maggie? I haven’t enough bandwidth.”

Feed the beast

Keep someone, usually a client, sweet.

Word blocks in front of laptop

The Acronyms:

Huge category, this. We’ve pulled up the highlights.

B2B Business-to-business

B2C Business-to-customer

CTR Click-through rate

CTA Call to action

CPC Cost per click

OOO Out of office

SEO Search engine optimisation (i.e. getting to the top of Google search rankings)

PR Public Relations

COP/COB Close of play/close of business (i.e. 5.30 PM)

ETA Estimated time of arrival

LMK “Let me know”

OTP/IAM “On the phone”/”In a meeting”

CPU Cost per unit (or ‘central processing unit)

ROI Return on investment

And to finish…

Some of the weirder ones.

Idea/thought shower

This term is a replacement for ‘brainstorm’ in some organisations. Each to their own, we suppose.

Core Competency

Basically, what somebody is good at: “Her core competency is social media.” Just replace with ‘skills’.

We’re not reinventing the wheel

I.e. “we’re doing something really obvious”.

Open the kimono

Not – not what you’re thinking! This means to disclose information, possibly to a third party, e.g. “Let’s open the kimono and tell our clients everything about that massive security scandal we had last month.” Or not, possibly.

The above is by no means an exhaustive list, but at least, come your first day, you might have an idea what’s going on. If all goes wrong, Urban Dictionary is your friend. And who knows – perhaps you’ll actually use some of it!

Susanna Quirke writes for Inspiring Interns, a graduate recruitment firm which specialises in sourcing candidates for internship jobs and giving out graduate careers advice. To hire graduates or browse graduate jobs London, visit our website.

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