Ive been thinking roughly how we create barriers to understanding by reason of our language patterns and habits.
Lately, Ive worked with scientists and engineers from across the world. My workshops have had participants from China, Columbia, France, India, Sweden, United Kingdom, Ukraine and, of course, the United States.
As our business environments include people with diverse backgrounds, and our purchasers and vendors are worldwide, one thing is startlingly clear the facility to communicate clearly and to grasp each other is very important and is ordinarily frustrating.
Id like to call your realization to our penchant in the United States for using idioms in our conversations.
n 1: a manner of speaking that is pure to native speakers of a language 2: the usage or vocabulary that is characteristic of a fantastic group of people
As our national past-time involves sporting events, sports idioms have infiltrated our business communications. In this article, Ill take a glance at our preoccupation with sports and other common business idioms.
First, one or more questions.
1. Why is the World Series in baseball called the World Series?
The answer: In 1884, the Providence Grays of the National League outplayed the New York Metropolitan Club of the American Association in a three game series for what was originally called "The Championship of the United States." Several newspapers penned the Grays as "World Champions" and the hot title stuck.
2. What sport is played and watched by the most people on the earth? The answer: Football – nonetheless, merely in the United States is the game referred to as soccer. Outside the United States, the sport is characteristically called football, or futbol in Spanish-speaking countries, where the game is especially wellknown. The "Encyclopedia of World Sport" says that more men and women play and watch soccer worldwide than any other sport.
Sports Idioms at Work
Here is a fictional conversation complete of idioms taken from sports. In the repeat of the conversation that follows, the idioms are highlighted and defined. I thank Kenneth Beare at All About ESL for his witty over-the-upper (idiom) fictional conversation. See the links at the end of this article for Kenneths site and other resources.
Closing a Deal Scenario
In a typical office somewhere in New York:
Bob: Well, is Trevisos going to play ball or are we going to strike out on this deal?
Pete: The most modern locker talk is that our game plan is a real contender for the contract.
Bob: Yeah, the other crew has two strikes against it once they fumbled last week.
Pete: They had an astounding chance of scoring nonetheless I think Trevisos thought they weren't up to scratch on some of the details.
Now, heres the conversation with the idioms highlighted and defined:
Bob: Well, is Trevisos going to play ball (baseball-play a game, idiom-do business with) or are we going to strike out (baseball-go out, idiom-fail) on this deal (idiom-contract)?
Pete: The most modern locker talk (general sports-talk among the players, idiom-gossip, rumors) is that our game plan (American football-plan which plays to make, idiom-plan of action) is a real contender (boxing- very imaginable winner, idiom-individual with a excellent chance of success) for the contract.
Bob: Yeah, the other crew has two strikes against it (baseball-one step from going out or loosing, idiom-close to not succeeding) once they fumbled (American football-lost possession of the ball, idiom-make a serious mistake) last week.
Pete: They had an astounding chance of scoring (any sport-to make some extent, idiom-to succeed) nonetheless I think Trevisos thought they weren't up to scratch (horseracing-not able to winning, idiom-not having the right qualities) on some of the details.
Next, well transition to a couple common animal idioms you'll hear across the office:
As blind as a bat – blind
I need to put on my glasses before I even get out of bed. Im blind as a bat.
As busy as a beaver – very busy
I have been as busy as a beaver all morning watching to finish my work.
Ive never heard this one used, though I think Ill see if I can jump a trend, its pretty darn funny! –
As awkward as a cow on curler skates – very awkward
The little girl was as awkward as a cow on curler skates when she first began riding a bicycle.
As crooked as a dog's hind leg- dishonest
The politician was as crooked as a dog's hind leg and everybody disliked him.
And, heres one that combines a sporting occasion with an animal!
Back the incorrect horse- support someone or something that cannot win or succeed
We were backing the incorrect horse when we decided to support the hot candidate for mayor.
Lastly, here are some that are business related:
To have the floor- to have permission to speak in a meeting
The president had the floor for almost an hour during the meeting.
To lay (something) on the table- to gift a matter for discussion
I went to the meeting and laid all of my concerns roughly the hot product on the table.
And, now to be even more confusing lets use a same word and give it a different meaning:
To table a discussion- to delay a discussion until a later time
We tabled the discussion roughly the salary scale back until the following meeting.
By now Im sure that youve gotten the factor that our daily language is complete of idioms!
When you're developing a new presentation, you'll take into consideration that others may have difficulty understanding your content if you use a great deal of idioms in your speech.
I undertaking you to become more aware of the words and phrases that you use to communicate daily and noticeable documents. If you communicate clearly you'll need to jump filtering out the idioms that make your communication frustrating or confusing for your colleagues, purchasers, and other audiences who are non-native English speakers.
Online resources and sources for this article:
Idiom Connection: http://www.idiomconnection.com/sports.html
Sports Idioms: http://esl.roughly.com/library/weekly/aa111697.htm
ESL Idiom Page: http://www.eslcafe.com/idioms/id-list.html
Idiom Dictionary: http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/
Baseball Info: http://www.baseball-almanac.com/ws/wsmenu.shtml
Football Info: http://www.soccer-411.com
Note: If you do a Google search on idiom Google shows roughly five,940,000 websites