When working for a consulting firm, it might be very advantageous for you and your career if you understand the language of business. Consultants use a special vocabulary and buzzwords to increase productivity and communicate complex ideas in a short amount of time.
What lingo is used in consulting?
Consulting buzzwords are unique words or expressions that consultants use to condense popular business concepts and strategies. Although mastering all the consulting jargon is like to learning a new language, doing so can greatly enhance your capacity to communicate with businesses, coworkers, and possible jobs.
Most practical consulting jargon
Here are 24 of the most popular business and consulting terms that are frequently used in consultant jargon:
1. Action strategy and planning
An action plan is a detailed, step-by-step blueprint for carrying out a certain activity, objective, or assignment. Consulting firms collaborate with their clients to develop an action plan. For instance, if the client has to increase their clientele by the end of the quarter, they may wish to talk about an action plan to accomplish this.
Example: “Hey, this quarter we need to increase our revenue. When is a good time to talk about an action plan?”
Any other business is referred to as AOB. This abbreviation is most frequently found on meeting agendas in businesses. It indicates to office workers when it is appropriate to discuss topics unrelated to the current discussion. On an agenda, this is frequently the final item.
A consultant who is “beach” is one who is not actively involved in any assignments. This indicates that the consultant isn’t putting in any billable time right now.
Example: “Janice has been at the beach for about a week, she needs to go to the field as soon as possible.”
A physically extended slideshow presentation is referred to as “blanks.” High-level executives frequently create blank slideshow presentations that lower-level personnel adapt into finished electronic presentations. For instance, if a supervisor wants a slideshow created regarding the annual income of the firm, they can sketch up or draw out what the slideshow would look like before giving it to a lower-level employee to polish and complete.
Example: “These are the gaps. By 3 p.m., I need the presentation itself. Do you have the blanks for that presentation, Bradley??
5. Boil the Ocean
The phrase “boil the ocean” refers to a challenging situation or effort that isn’t worthwhile. One might be advised they are “boiling the ocean” if a consultant or employee spends too much time figuring out how many customers they have acquired this quarter when the quarter has just begun.
Example: “Alice, don’t try to calculate the exact amount by boiling the ocean. Just provide an estimation for the quotation, then continue.”
Consultants interchange the terms “buckets” with “categories” and “groups.” This word is also used in the single form of the verb “to categorize.” For instance, a consultant might ask someone to “bucket” material if they wish to make a big amount of research data or test findings easier to read.
Example: “Let’s examine the various buckets of client data in order to refine our customer experience index.”
The term “compound annual growth rate” is abbreviated as CAGR. It is similar to internal rate of return, which is frequently used in finance. It describes the annual rate of growth for an investment or market.
Example: “How does the CAGR look if we invest now?”
8. Circle Back
“Circle back” indicates that the topic under discussion isn’t crucial right now but will be brought up later. Someone may ask whether they can “circle back” to a subject later, for instance, if you want to discuss new clients in a meeting about shifting offices.
Example: “That’s an excellent point, but let’s circle back to it after the meeting.”
9. Critical path
The crucial actions required to complete a project or goal are referred to as the “critical path.” An important component of the action planning process is the critical path. The important method, for instance, may be to reach out and pitch to potential consumers directly rather than casting a wide marketing net if the objective is to acquire new clients.
Example: “What is the critical path that will get us to our profitable destination?”
Consultants refer to a slideshow presentation as a “deck.”
Example: “Let’s look at the deck and make an informed decision.”
At the conclusion of a project or assignment, consultants present deliverables to their clients. They can be spreadsheets, presentations on slides, or research papers.
Example: “All of the project’s deliverables are listed below. You’ll appreciate the outcomes, I believe.”
After a consultant describes a project and someone wants to delve deeper into the specifics, they will use the phrase “drill-down.” For instance, if a consultant proposes a project to boost a business’ online presence, a colleague would wish to dig more and determine how it will function.
Example: “Nice summary but we would like you to Drill down to the specifics.”
13. Elevator pitch
A quick remark or paragraph that succinctly sums up a complete idea or endeavor is referred to as an “elevator pitch.” It is based on the assumption that an elevator ride is all that is needed to convey an idea. A supervisor might ask you for your “elevator pitch” if you have a terrific suggestion for how to boost business.
Example: “Do you have an elevator pitch? I don’t have a lot of time.”
The term “end of day,” abbreviated as “EOD,” refers to the time when most employees clock out and leave for the day, which is often between 5 and 6 p.m. Although consultants frequently use the entire phrase when speaking aloud, they often use the acronym when writing.
Example: “We’ll talk about it tomorrow if we don’t get to it before the end of day.”
Facetime refers to being present in person to show off your productivity to bosses and coworkers. A consultant may choose to visit the office even if they are not required to be there for their work in order to network and spend some “facetime.”
Example: “I figured I’d squeeze in some face time tomorrow with some clients.”
Feedback is a criticism offered to a project, endeavor, or action to make it better. Feedback from clients can come in the form of a written note or comment, or it can also be given vocally.
Example: “Hey! You’re doing fantastic, but are you willing to get some feedback on your project?”
“Greenfield” refers to a fresh and interesting business possibility. When they think the possibility will be beneficial for the company’s future, consultants use this phrase. As an illustration, a consultant would view the prospect of taking on a brand-new customer for the business as a “greenfield” opportunity.
Example: “I believe that collaborating with this company could be a significant Greenfield potential.”
18. Hard stop
The phrase “hard stop” is used by consultants to describe when a meeting must end. It’s acceptable to let someone know that you need a hard stop at noon to make it to your next meeting or task linked to business, for instance, if you’re afraid about running over time at a meeting.
Example: “I need a hard stop at 11 a.m. before we start, or I won’t make it to lunch.”
Leverage is the concept of utilizing one thing to obtain another. For instance, if prospective clients were seeking a capable financial advisor for their business, consultants would mention a specialist they recently engaged in their accounting department.
Example: “That pricey meal was just a leverage to win over new business.”
Upcoming projects for consultants or businesses are described in the “pipeline.” If a consultant is looking for work, they could enquire about potential opportunities.
Example: “Hey Sue, know about anything coming up the pipeline this month?”
21. Push Back
When someone says they can’t do a task or project in a certain length of time, they use the term “push back.” For instance, a manager might ask you to do a sizable slideshow presentation in an hour. You might have to politely “push back” and say that there isn’t enough time to finish the project.
Example: “My supervisor gave me a lot of work to perform in a short period of time; I had to push back a little bit.”
22. Smell test
Making sure something makes sense before believing it is known as a “smell test.” For instance, if a consultant has doubts about the outcomes of a study or test, they may ask for the study to be repeated before accepting the results as accurate.
Example: “These findings don’t smell right; we need to rerun it.”
Weeds are the specifics of a circumstance, undertaking, or objective. Even if “weeds” and “drill-down” have a lot in common, “weeds” refers to getting right to the point before the all-encompassing overview. You might not need to hear the overview if, for instance, your consulting firm completes numerous projects with identical requirements because you are already aware of it. Instead, you can get right into the “weeds,” or the finer points.
Example: “We can jump right to the weeds because we’ve done this previously.”
24. White space
“White space” refers to an untapped market or revenue stream within a firm. For instance, the company might be unaware that their products could appeal to a market they haven’t explored before, creating a potentially lucrative and exciting opportunity (a Greenfield opportunity).
Example: “This new approach might target a lot of white space,” for instance.”