from Daily Grammar Lessons Blog
Monday through Friday, we pour blood, sweat, and tears into our jobs. Winners and losers emerge from everyday interactions. You have to keep your eye on the ball, step up to the plate, and be ready to perform when your number is called.
Oh, boy. When did sports clichés become such a widespread form of communication in corporate America?
Nobody knows the exact answer, but there’s no arguing that sports culture and its terminology are prevalent in offices across the country. Explaining twenty-five of the most frequently used phrases will help you stay one step ahead of the competition.
Two of the greatest feelings in the world are walking out of a meeting room after nailing a presentation and trotting around the bases after hitting a home run. The phrase “knocked it out of the park” refers to more than just the home run. It implies that it was such a success that you have time to make a slow, satisfying victory lap around the bases.
Attributed to legendary Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi and then immortalized by Al Pacino in Any Given Sunday, a game of inches justifies why the littlest detail matters. In football and business, the difference between raising a championship banner and being considered a failure is often the smallest margin.
Popularized by boxing scribes in the early twentieth century, “losing a step” is associated with a high-level employee’s deteriorating skill set in the corporate world. Depending on who the person is, this could be a damaging blow to the individual or the entire company. A boxer who has lost a step is more likely to end up on their back than win a prize fight.
In your business-to-business dealings, it’s quite common for one company to be lagging behind in the decision-making process. When you’ve done everything on your end to make a decision, the ball is now in their court—which stems from a stalling tactic in both tennis and basketball. This means it’s up to them to take the next step.
Slam dunking was popularized in the mid-1970s NBA as an electrifying way to score points. It has arguably evolved into sports’ most celebrated play. At the office, slam dunks can refer to just about any guaranteed success: ideas, execution or a new hire.
Whether a talented staffer leaves for a better job or a key team member suddenly has to go on jury duty, every business deals with the concept of the next man up. It means the show must go on, no matter who is assuming the void. The phrase has recently been ingrained in society by notably tough coaches like Bill Belichick and Jim Harbaugh. Star players sometimes come into their own using this philosophy. The same thing can happen in an office.
The most successful athletes are cool under pressure—in other words, they have ice water in their veins. Superstar athletes like quarterback Tom Brady and legendary basketball player Michael Jordan were at their best in the fourth quarter with the outcome of the game on the line. Most companies have a handful of exceptional employees with these ice-water traits, who routinely defy odds to deliver a deal or close a sale.
When a football team is out of options at the end of the half or game, their quarterback will throw a sixty-yard prayer to the end zone. The play has an extremely low success rate—less than five percent. Businesses have adopted “Hail Mary” as a term to define a last-resort tactic for salvaging a situation or project. The term entered modern lingo in 1975 after a Vikings-Cowboys game. Currently, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has been dubbed the King of the Hail Mary for his success rate with the longshot pass.
Most teams must overcome errors and turnovers to secure a victory. Have you ever botched an assignment where everything seems to be going haywire—but the result still makes the customer happy? You know exactly what “a win is a win” feels like.
Working on a difficult team project can feel like a relay race. To “pass the baton” refers to passing off your portion of the assignment, much like a 4×100 meter Olympic relay race. Think of yourself as a cross-functional project manager who needs to get approval from another vertical within the company. You’re surely going to “pass” your portion of the work to a different department to get this feedback.
Think of finishing a project the same way a football player crosses into the end zone to score a touchdown.
If you did some boring or difficult work to make your teammates’ job easier, you “took one for the team.” In sports, this refers to taking a tackle or making a personal sacrifice so your team can score.
This basketball term that applies to pressing your defense to not allow the offense to have any space. It also mirrors the recruiting world when a company aggressively courts a candidate.
This acronym stands for “Greatest of all time.” Some would consider it a career goal to reach this level of acclaim in business or sport.
This term refers to someone who’s always second-guessing a decision made in a football game or business meeting after it’s already happened.
Some phrases may seem harmless until you think about what message they’re really sending. Here are 10 words and phrases to stop using at work, and what you should say instead. https://t.co/aX8OncVcvF (via @Grammarly) pic.twitter.com/biqtmq7xgS
— Glassdoor (@Glassdoor) April 6, 2018
A simple outcome that was expected can equate to scoring a par on a hole of golf.
When you’re in a bad situation at work, one could equate it to having the cue ball behind the eight ball in a game of pool or billiards. You have limited options.
Thrown for a loop at work? Think of a baseball pitcher spinning a pitch to a batter so they’re unable to react accordingly.
This football term reflects a team kicking the ball back to their opponent. If you punt at work, you’re passing up something to be considered another day.
Golfers give themselves an advantage by hitting off of a tee to begin every hole. So, when somebody does work ahead of time for you, they’ve teed you up for success.
HEDGING, n. Language that unnecessarily limits or qualifies an idea
Learn more: https://t.co/jEVRyqmHnp
— Grammarly (@Grammarly) April 17, 2018
Work isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon of activity. You can treat long-term projects like you’re a runner who’s looking to pace over a long distance in favor of quick bursts.
Baseball is a sport with versatile players who often handle multiple positions. Think of this term next time you handle cross-functional roles on a major project.
It’s always great to receive managerial support, like a boxer who needs to have someone in their corner giving advice during a prize fight.
You can’t roll a strike in bowling or putt in golf without getting started. The same goes for any work-related project.
If you dropped the ball at work, chances are you missed a step in a project, forgot to email someone back, or made a huge error—just like an outfielder in baseball dropping a fly ball that was a can of corn. Wait, what? We can save that explanation for a food-phrase list.
The post 25 Sports Phrases You Might Hear as Workplace Jargon appeared first on Grammarly Blog.
Commas: love ‘em or hate ‘em, they’re here to stay.
Granted, in a world that seems to become more and more abbreviated, it may feel that commas and grammar in general are falling to the wayside. Proper knowledge of grammar, punctuation, and specifically commas, show potential employers that you are a cut above the rest. It may seem small, but displaying a full mastery of commas (including the nuances of the serial comma) demonstrate a level of attention to detail and commitment to professionalism that is a breath of fresh air in both academic and corporate worlds.
Whether you’re writing for fun, for work, or for school, using commas correctly can dramatically improve your voice and the way others perceive your writing. Besides, if you’re the type that cares about proper grammar and punctuation, one of the easiest ways to influence those around you is to set a good example. That means even if you’re texting, staying committed to proper comma use is key.
So, you want to make sure your comma game is on point? We’ve compiled a list of comma practice questions that will tell you if you’re making the grade. So make sure you’ve got your pencils ready (for nostalgia’s sake) and get ready to show us what you’ve got.
Not sure what you missed?
Review the essentials with Grammarly’s “Rules for Comma Usage.”
Getting a promotion takes more than just doing your job well. To move up the ladder to the next step of your career, you have to prove to decision makers and leadership that you are ready and deserving enough to take on more responsibility. This takes consistently working your best, staying dedicated to your work, and much more.
If you’re sick of being passed up for promotions, check out these eight habits of employees that get promoted. Make small changes as necessary if you’re ready to take the next step in your career.
Before the start of the year, sit down with your boss to set and discuss your professional career goals. Be open about where you see yourself in six months or a year. A good boss will help you achieve these goals by giving you opportunities to grow and providing support to keep you on track.
“In many cases, he or she truly does want to see you achieve your goals. As a manager myself, I constantly ask my employees, ‘Where do you see yourself in five years?’ because if there’s a way I can help them along, I’ll do it.
“Whether that means putting in a good word for them in a different department at my current company or assigning them specials projects that will help them build new skill sets for a different role, I want to help,” says Katie Douthwaite Wolf, staff writer at The Muse.
The key, says Wolf, is to avoid announcing plans to “jump ship or that you want to take over your boss’s position.” Instead, think bigger and broader and come ready to discuss the ways you think your boss can help.
Employers don’t like when employees are focused on “I” rather than “we.” They want team players who are committed to helping the greater good of the team, which ultimately benefits the company.
“A good employee volunteers his or her efforts before even being asked. They volunteer for more tasks and responsibility, and not just because of immediate reward,” according to the guide, How to be Promotable. “This type of employee simply goes above and beyond and will be the first thought when promotions are being decided.”
How can you make yourself an indispensable member of your team? One way is to become the go-to person for something specific, like designing dynamic sales decks or dealing with challenging customers. People in positions like this are not only sought after by coworkers, but also seen by leadership because they naturally stand out as someone people are always looking for.
Show your boss that you’re committed to continuously improving and developing your skills by finding learning opportunities, both within the office and outside of it. This doesn’t mean you need to get your master’s or PhD, unless that’s relevant to your job. Instead, enroll in one webinar each month, use your own money to attend conferences, or ask to be put on projects outside of your department. This shows that you’re serious about your career, and aren’t waiting for someone else to get you where you want to go.
— Glassdoor (@Glassdoor) April 17, 2018
Advocate for yourself
When asking for a promotion, leadership is going to want to know what kind of value you bring to the business. Rather than trying to think back at all you’ve accomplished, build a “working” portfolio throughout the year. After you’ve completed an important project or performed a record sales month, document it. When noting your successes, focus on the most important details.
“Keep a record of everything you do that enhances the company’s bottom line, that puts the company or your department in a good light, that is creative and innovative, and that shows your loyalty and commitment to the organization,” says Randall S. Hansen, PhD.
This tracking shows that you’ve been successful and improved the company, and are invested in the work you’re doing.
Show leadership potential
After all, the first step in being a leader is acting like one. Don’t get involved in office politics or develop bad habits, like being late or missing deadlines. Leaders need to be great role models for the employees they manage and work with, and without these skills, it will be hard to get a management promotion.
Take advantage of every networking opportunity you have, even if it’s a small get together with new coworkers at lunch. Networking with others within your organization and otherwise will allow you to get to know the people who can provide support now and in the future. It’s also a chance to promote yourself and your skills as well. You can reap similar benefits by getting involved with groups in your organization, like those who help plan events or keep the office stocked.
Being engaged goes beyond paying attention or taking notes in meetings—both of which are also important. It means being an active member of your organization, attending every optional “lunch and learn” or coming up with new ideas for sharing successes in the workplace. This shows your commitment to the company and the success of your coworkers.
Get Promoted this Year
Getting promoted is not an easy task—it takes time, learning and dedication to yourself and the business. Successfully manage your own career path by using these eight tips—you might just get that promotion you’ve been hoping for.
A version of this post originally appeared on Glassdoor’s blog.
More from Glassdoor:
There’s never a bad time to tidy up writing that’s messy or overly cluttered, but the best time may be right now—which is to say, spring. In fact, that last sentence could use some polish, so let’s rework it: Now’s a fine time to spring clean your writing. There, isn’t that better?
This week, we’ve explored a variety of practical strategies for writers looking to spruce up their prose. Here are the highlights:
Grammarly fans offered their editing tips, including several for re-examining your draft with fresh eyes: Read it aloud, one said. Edit in multiple rounds, another advised. In fact, numerous fans on Facebook agreed it’s wise to give your mind a few days after writing to switch into editing mode.
There were also some timeless reminders to get rid of unnecessary words and to make sure you nail your introduction. As Beth Goehring put it: “Make the first sentence sing. Make sure it’s bold and begs the reader to continue. Work on that the hardest. It pays off.”
Notably, recruit a human to help edit, and don’t rely too much on your word processor’s spellchecker. It can miss certain sneaky errors in the form of contextual spelling mistakes—which Grammarly is adept at spotting.
While we’re all for straightforward language, there are times when commonplace words feel bland—and present opportunities to liven up your writing.
Workmanlike adjectives like good, great, and best are all chances to roll out fancier (but not too fancy) alternatives like worthy, wonderful, and perfect..
Words like first, new, and important are also overused—so why not make things number one, modern, and essential instead?
Lastly, we found other, more, and many were often ripe for substitution—as was able, as in, “Are you able to move tomorrow’s meeting to Thursday?” Here, some old-fashioned word economy could help streamline; try “can you” instead.
We came up with a slew of recommendations, including several books worth keeping on hand:
And we singled out several podcasts, for all those moments—while walking, doing the dishes, or flossing—when you’re not at the keyboard:
Our trove of ideas also included tools to help you organize and stay focused, networks to help you make connections, and other online resources with tips on everything from Instagram posts to getting your work published.
Oh, and did we mention this software that helps you avoid grammar and style mistakes, as well as spelling errors? It’s called Grammarly—you may have heard of it. And finally:
In your heart, you know that your best writing hits the appropriate level of formality and isn’t excessively wordy or full of half-finished ideas or repetitions.
But in practice, it’s not always easy to apply those lessons consistently. That’s where Grammarly Premium can come in. For repetitive words—like when I keep using the word word here—it can step in and suggest an alternative, like term. It can also help you find and strike of redundant phrasing.
And it can spot unfinished ideas. If you’ve left a sentence fragment sitting in your draft, Grammarly Premium can suggest fixes to complete your thought.
It can also help you find the right tone. If you tell Grammarly you’re writing an email to your boss, for instance, it can helpfully remind you not to begin with the word “howdy.” (Guilty. In her mortifying reply, she called me “pardner.” Live and learn.)
As you spring clean your writing, make Grammarly a partner today.
The post Everything You Should Know about Cleaning Your Writing: Tips, Tools, and More appeared first on Grammarly Blog.