Plain speaking is the best way to run a business – it’s called ‘radical candour’ reports The Economist newspaper. To navigate the corporate workplace, you need a phrasebook. Some examples -“I hear you”. Ostensible meaning: You’re making a legitimate point. Actual meaning: Be quiet. “We should all learn to walk in each other’s shoes.” Ostensible meaning: Shared understanding results in better outcomes. Actual meaning: I need you to know that my job is a living hell. “I’m just curious…” Ostensible meaning: I’d like to know why you think that… Actual meaning: …because it makes no sense to anyone else. “It’s great to have started this conversation.” Ostensible meaning: We’ve raised an important issue here. Actual meaning: We’ve made absolutely no progress. “I wanted to keep you in the loop.” Ostensible meaning: I am informing you of something minor. Actual meaning: I should have told you this weeks ago. “Do you have five minutes?”Ostensible meaning: I have something trivial to say. Actual meaning: You are in deep, deep trouble.

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