Translating Corporate Jargon

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We’ve heard all of the corporate jargon. Synergy. Circle back. Mission-critical. What does it all mean? Well, we’re here to make it make sense.

Continue reading to learn about all-too-common, and sometimes overused, office jargon. We’ll be imparting some soft-skill tips along the way!


This one is pretty straightforward. Anything that is mission-critical is important to the organization. Some may even say that the organization would cease to exist without it.

Tip: Don’t consider everything mission-critical. If everything is important, then nothing is important. Budget your time and energy for the things that really matter.

Circle Back

If you’re going to circle back, you’re going to come back to the subject at a later date. People will use this term when they have to give a topic or question some thought, or if they need to do more research on the subject.

Tip: It’s okay to circle back when you don’t have the answer to a question.

Thought Leader

A person described as a thought leader is knowledgeable, experienced, and, most importantly, highly respected in their field.

Tip: Beware of phony thought leaders – people who have given themselves that title to, say, sell books or subscriptions – since they care about themselves and their brand more than your organization. Finding, and receiving mentorship from, a real thought leader can take your career to the next level.


If something is robust, it covers a wide range and provides a lot of functionality.

Tip: UP Michigan Works! has a lot of programs and services to help job seekers. One might say that our menu of services is robust.


This could mean the amount of time, energy, staff, and/or resources at your or your team’s disposal. When you’ve run out of bandwidth, it means that you won’t be able to accomplish a task or complete a project with the current resources, time, etc. that you have.

Tip: It’s okay to let your superior know that you’ve run out of bandwidth. If you’re performing your job to the best of your ability, this conversation may lead to more resources being given to you, or a change in organizational tactics.


To leverage means to use something you or your organization has available to your advantage. You would leverage a tall coworker’s height to reach something on the highest shelf in the storage room.

Tip: Don’t feel bad about using advantages. If they’re legal, legitimate, and equitable, it would be a disservice to your customers not to increase your organization’s efficiency and effectiveness.


Here we have the coup de grâce of corporate jargon: synergy. This corporate buzzword essentially means cooperation or inclusion to achieve a shared goal. You’d be synergizing if your company worked with a similar company to share resources and deliver an improved product or service.

Tip: Collaborating with like-minded businesses and partners is good for business. Seek out advantageous relationships that will help your organization get ready to win.

Thanks for reading! Learn more about our job seeker and employer services by calling us at 800-285-9675 or texting us at 906-629-1976.