Common conference call jargon
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Common conference call jargon

28th October 2020
By Tom Ladle

If you’ve ever found yourself on a call and thought you yourself, I’m sure I’ve heard that before. It’s because you probably have. Here’s some of the most common conference call jargon.

‘Is everyone on the line?’

Followed by an uncomfortably long silence a lot of the time or just a few sporadic ‘yep’, ‘yes’, ‘here’, ‘let’s get on with it’. Use this as an opportunity to announce yourself. Or to avoid having to ask the question, you can always press #1 for a head count or #2 for a roll call.

‘Let’s discuss that offline’

An absolute classic, a way to shut down anything that deters slightly from the sole focus of the conference call. You make a point that opens a whole can of worms and will almost certainly lead to a much longer call than anticipated. The response you’ll get, ‘Let’s discuss that offline’ or an iteration of this. Basically, it just means, look we don’t have time to discuss that, don’t bring that up.

‘It is what it is’

What is what what is? This is usually said by someone who has accepted defeat. They’ve ran out of options, so they resort to saying ‘look, it is what it is’, translation I’ve messed up or it’s out of my control. When someone says this it’s best to actually discuss it offline, otherwise you’ll find yourself going round in circles on the call.

‘Think outside of the box’

Huh, what box? We’ve all heard this one, but it tends to get used a lot on a call, particularly in a team brainstorm sesh. Although surprisingly being told to think outside of the box, doesn’t automatically make you think outside of the box. What’s much more likely to happen is a series of ‘hmmmms’ and awkward silences, until eventually someone crumbles under the pressure and offers a suggestion that gets shut down immediately (fun times).

Could be a game changer’

When this is said, everyone on the call gets excited. You’ll hear people fighting to get their point in after the game changer suggestion. However, this piece of jargon is thrown around way too casually on conference calls. If everything that was said to be a game changer was actually a game changer, we’d have flying cars by now.

It’s on my radar’

Haven’t had a chance to look at it yet. This is the go-to when someone is challenged on the call about a piece of work that they were meant to look at a week ago but completely forgot about. Great thing about this is the person who challenged usually accepts it and moves on.

‘Right, quick recap’

Usually not very quick. If someone says this on your call, it’s because they probably sense no one was listening (very pessimistic of us). It could also just be a nifty way to end the call, with a recap of everything that was discussed. When you hear this, it’s a sign to pay attention! It will usually include some actions to take away from the call, which you’ll want to know.

How many of these have you heard? If you’ve heard them all then congratulations, you’re a seasoned pro when it comes to conference calls. If you’ve not heard any, then sure enough you will soon enough!


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