Death to Corpspeak

By May 20, 2015 Ramblings
corpspeak

Today I’m shaking things up and letting someone else take the reins of All In Stride.

Meet my friend Will. Will and I went to grad school at Alabama together and instantly clicked. We could not be any more different on the outside, but slice open our brains (please don’t actually do that) and you’ll find we’re identical.

corpspeak

Merry Christmas from Dick and Jane

You see, we’re that rare breed of human that will stay awake the entire night to perfect a paper, fly high on caffeine and bad jokes, then perform flawlessly in class. We’re unicorns. And if it sounds like I’m bragging, I sure as hell am! We earned that right!

Our main difference is that while I curse and see red when I’m angry and struggle to put rants into cohesive thoughts, Will is eloquent, constructs his arguments in a sweet, Southern way, then leaves you doubled over with laugher at his snark. Which is why this collaboration of genius is about to go down.

Take it away, Will!

The Corpspeak Epidemic

All throughout college, I heard professors talk about the phenomenon of “corpspeak.” For those of you who haven’t heard of this, you’ve already been exposed to it.

Corpspeak (korp•spēek)

noun

  1. The art of filling up pages and pontificating on points for extended periods of time, without saying anything conclusive or valuable
  2. At the end of the day, corpspeak is more or less a group of like-minded clichés with an MBA
  3. (See what I did there?)

Sound familiar?

In class we all laughed at this image:  Boardrooms, cubicles, and yes, even super-trendy open-floorplan offices, full of people saying it all without saying a thing. Then something happened.

I got “looped in” to my first email at my first job. Then I began “following up” and “reaching out” to people…which eventually led to meetings about “identifying the right stakeholders.”

Corpspeak

Try again, this time in English

At that point I realized that I, of all people, had become fluent in corpspeak.

It wasn’t a deliberate choice. Looking back, it was more of a natural progression. One of those weird nuances that accompanies getting older that you can’t explain and don’t detect until it’s too late. Right in line with beginning to like grilled onions, ordering everything on your pizza and obsessively scrolling through the “documentary” section on Netflix, corpspeak – gradually and methodically – commandeered my vocabulary like a thief in the night.

So when I realized what had happened, I got curious as to why people even started doing this in the first place. A recent feature story from the New Yorker best encapsulated this for me. It explains how TED talks have allowed ideas to become a standalone industry. And with that comes the need for companies and individuals to differentiate themselves when they’re talking about already abstract items, which has raised the stakes in describing not only big ideas, but also daily tasks. The verbal gymnastics have since trickled down from the top-tier thought leadership conferences to the watercooler, where everyone is trying to stand out by describing what they do or what they think with more flair. (We all were warned about this years ago and should have seen it coming…)

Why say “we’re finishing the assignment now to send to the client” when you can “wrap it up and put a bow on it”?! And why bother proposing that you put off a topic until the next meeting when you can “park it in the parking lot”?! What imagery!

corpspeak

The man, the computer-counter, the legend – Dr. Phelps, our favorite Comm Theory professor

A recent article by Inc. specifically caught my attention, explaining how a recent study conducted by TalentSmart revealed that many people have lost sight of how their words affect other people and how there is a dearth of social awareness among the masses. Speaking specifically to corpspeak, they sum up the issue nicely.

Given all of this, it led me to reflect on the terms that I despise the most, and unfortunately have used on a routine basis. I felt my career as a communicator depended on it.

So a few weeks ago I began cutting out all of the corpspeak from my vocabulary at work whenever the opportunity presented itself.

No gum. No support group. Just me getting back to bas-…I’m still not completely cured, but I’m making progress.

In the short time that I have made a conscious effort to cut out the flair, I have found myself to be more productive, and my teams operate with much less confusion. I’m hoping this continues to catch on, and that I can replace corpspeak with normspeak–using normal words and not trying to win a sixth grade creative writing competition with every interaction.

corpspeak

“You underestimate the power of the dark side”

To start my recovery I used a little word association exercise. I took the corpspeak phrases that I heard the most, used the most and despised the most, and made a list. For each word or phrase I paired it with my first thought. This turned out to be pretty entertaining, and truly brought out the ridiculousness of each term. I present to you in no particular order my list of phrases that kill me inside:

Looping inI’m not a bull

Let’s discuss the next steps—Such as slideeee to the left, slideeee to the right. CRISS CROSS.

Get on the same page—Friends, I don’t even want to be in the same book

Deep dive—I won’t be holding my breath

Touch base—Runner is OUT

Let’s park this item—Good, easier for me to hit it with my car

I’m going to push back on this one—At Alabama, we call that “run blocking”

I’ve got a hard stop at 2 p.m.—So you’re that important, eh?

There are lots of moving parts—You’re no engineer, stop it

Let’s put this to bed—”You wanna go night night?” – Kevin Hart

Let’s look at the big picture—*checks phone for movie times coinciding with lunch break*

This needs to be repeatable and measurable—Like whiskey shots

We need to be strategic about this—So this means we need at least four more meetings about the same thing

Let’s take this offline—*AIM door open sound* A/S/L please?

Let’s push this over the goal line—Not up in here! #RTR

We need to drill down—Doesn’t that cause earthquakes?

I’m going to reach out—”I’ll never let go, Jack”

This is bleeding edge technology—I know we said you were a sharp person, but geez…

It shouldn’t be a heavy lift—Good, wearing this back brace is uncomfortable in my ergonomic chair

At the end of the day, it is what it is—…which is…?

I’m still working on it, but I can already tell an improvement. So for each of you struggling with this in your own workplace, I hope that you can find solace in knowing you are not alone. And I hope that you can adopt a few of my own word associations to help you get the ball rolling on the road to recovery.

corpspeak

Three cheers for my #APRFamily! Thanks for the words, Will!

2015 Birmingham Parade of Homes

By May 8, 2015 Birmingham, Products, Ramblings
2015 Parade of Homes, B-Metro Magazine, B-Metro blog team, Freeman Farmhouse

I had so much fun with the B-Metro blog team at the Alabama Auto Show last week that I decided to work with them again! Plus, it’s a lot more fun than painstakingly writing out my race recap from last weekend.

This time, I’m working with the 2015 Birmingham Parade of Homes—which starts this weekend! Y’all. This is way better than Christmas. I love looking at houses. No joke, it’s one of my favorite pastimes. When I was younger, my parents would toss my sister and me into the car and drive around in search of cool or unique houses. As I got older, I upped my game and started sneaking into houses that were being built, or attending open houses pretending to be a buyer. So this gig is perfect (and legal) for me!

2015 Parade of Homes, B-Metro Magazine, B-Metro blog team, Freeman Farmhouse

Hi little house, how adorable are you?

Plus, the hubs and I just hit our one-year anniversary at the lofty loft. That’s 365+ days without grass to mow or a yard to maintain or walls to walk into. Being officially cool downtown dwellers, now is the perfect time to pay a visit to suburbia to see if I miss it or not.

The Avenues, 1st Ave North, loft living, Birmingham, Birmingham lofts, loft design

Loft comes with views of the skyline and a stinky puppy

Plus, just check these beauties out!

2015 Parade of Homes, B-Metro Magazine, B-Metro blog team, Freeman Farmhouse

Subway tiles *drools*

 Freeman Farmhouse

Suburban homes with brick can make for an easy transition back…

2015 Parade of Homes, B-Metro Magazine, B-Metro blog team,

AND in the master bathroom

2015 Parade of Homes, B-Metro Magazine, B-Metro blog team, Freeman Farmhouse

Note to self – do NOT lie down on that rug and take a nap

So if you’re in the market for a new place to rest your head or like to torture yourself with pretty things you can’t have or want to walk through a Pinterest wonderland, check out the 2015 Birmingham Parade of Homes May 9-10 from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. and 16-17 from 1 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Twers on the Town and the Alabama Auto Show

By May 1, 2015 Advertising/Branding, Ramblings
Alabama Auto Show, Ford, BhamFord, B-Metro, Run for Kids Challenge, Southeastern Trail Series, ultra running

Happy Friday everyone! I’ve been up since 4:30 a.m. waiting for my baby birthday-stealer to arrive from Jersey, and I am pumped! I have an exciting and terrifying and exhausting and fun-filled weekend ahead—I’ll be doing the Run for Kids 12-Hour Challenge (my longest race ever!) (sponsor me here!) tomorrow, which is why my sister and her boyfriend drove all the way here.

Alabama Auto Show, Ford, BhamFord,  B-Metro, Run for Kids Challenge, Southeastern Trail Series, ultra running

Dress rehearsal run in my race threads. Sadly, the pup can’t pull me during the race…

Which obviously means we need to see and do and eat and drink ALL THE THINGS while they’re in town! Natalie and I planned each meal down to the last detail weeks and weeks ago, because, food. This afternoon we’ll be playing at the Alabama Auto Show with B-Metro and the Ford crew, checking out their latest and greatest rides.

Alabama Auto Show, Ford, BhamFord,  B-Metro, Run for Kids Challenge, Southeastern Trail Series, ultra running

Can you tell we’re related? Bonus points for her Ford Escape!

I’m excited to check out all the cars, but I really can’t wait to see the new Explorer and Mustang. Fun fact—once upon a time, the hubs owned a sunshine-yellow Mustang convertible that he adored. We spent many nights driving around with the top down blasting whatever college-kid music we listened to at the time. And while I love Pokey the Prius, her lack of ground clearance doesn’t make her an ideal off-roading partner. Sorry Pokes! So the Explorer looks to be a fun future adventure mobile.

Alabama Auto Show, Ford, BhamFord,  B-Metro, Run for Kids Challenge, Southeastern Trail Series, ultra running

Is he even old enough to drive?!

Alabama Auto Show, Ford, BhamFord,  B-Metro, Run for Kids Challenge, Southeastern Trail Series, ultra running

Check out how my Jersey girl tan compliments the bright yellow ‘Stang

And to top the weekend off, Sunday we plan on hitting Atlanta and being total tourists. I’m talking the Coca Cola Factory, Atlanta Aquarium (despite my hate of sea creatures), Piedmont Park, and of course, Gladys Knight’s Chicken and Waffles. And beer. Lots and lots of beer.  But this is all if my body still isn’t still in the woods somewhere.

To recap, come out to the Alabama Auto Show until May 3rd, feel free to cheer me on at Oak Mountain from 7-7 tomorrow, and warn Atlanta that the Twer sisters are coming to town!

Alabama Auto Show, Ford, BhamFord,  B-Metro, Run for Kids Challenge, Southeastern Trail Series, ultra running

Flashback Friday to when my sister was throwing gang signs in the back of the Mustang

BUTS Women’s Trail Running Retreat Recap

By April 27, 2015 Birmingham, Running, Trail Running
BUTS Women's Trail Running Retreat, Birmingham Ultra Trail Society, trail running, ultra running, Oak Mountain State Park, running retreat

What happens when you put a bunch of trail-loving, fun-seeking, dirt-donning, sweat-embracing women in the woods for three days? This.

The ladies of BUTS wanted to hold a trail running retreat to encourage more women to get on the trails. And it was a blast!

BUTS Women's Trail Running Retreat, Birmingham Ultra Trail Society, trail running, ultra running, Oak Mountain State Park, running retreat

Hey ladies, dirt > pavement

An entire weekend of yoga

BUTS Women's Trail Running Retreat, Birmingham Ultra Trail Society, trail running, ultra running, Oak Mountain State Park, running retreat

Om….

Seminars

BUTS Women's Trail Running Retreat, Birmingham Ultra Trail Society, trail running, ultra running, Oak Mountain State Park, running retreat

Dr. Olivia Affuso teaching us about proper nutrition

BUTS Women's Trail Running Retreat, Birmingham Ultra Trail Society, trail running, ultra running, Oak Mountain State Park, running retreat

Nom nom nom eat whole foods

Movies

BUTS Women's Trail Running Retreat, Birmingham Ultra Trail Society, trail running, ultra running, Oak Mountain State Park, running retreat

Mary Jo Tosch talking about the Run for Kids Challenge video (This weekend! Sponsor me!)

Delicious food

BUTS Women's Trail Running Retreat, Birmingham Ultra Trail Society, trail running, ultra running, Oak Mountain State Park, running retreat

We run to eat

Laughs

BUTS Women's Trail Running Retreat, Birmingham Ultra Trail Society, trail running, ultra running, Oak Mountain State Park, running retreat

SUP there it is!

BUTS Women's Trail Running Retreat, Birmingham Ultra Trail Society, trail running, ultra running, Oak Mountain State Park, running retreat

Ready to play in the dirt

BUTS Women's Trail Running Retreat, Birmingham Ultra Trail Society, trail running, ultra running, Oak Mountain State Park, running retreat

Sweepers have the most fun!

BUTS Women's Trail Running Retreat, Birmingham Ultra Trail Society, trail running, ultra running, Oak Mountain State Park, running retreat

Good friends listen when you say, “Hey let’s jump in the lake!”

A late-night escape

BUTS Women's Trail Running Retreat, Birmingham Ultra Trail Society, trail running, ultra running, Oak Mountain State Park, running retreat

GET IN THE CAR AND GO!

BUTS Women's Trail Running Retreat, Birmingham Ultra Trail Society, trail running, ultra running, Oak Mountain State Park, running retreat

Yee-haw!

And of course, trails!

BUTS Women's Trail Running Retreat, Birmingham Ultra Trail Society, trail running, ultra running, Oak Mountain State Park, running retreat

Sorry TLC, we chase waterfalls

 BUTS Women's Trail Running Retreat, Birmingham Ultra Trail Society, trail running, ultra running, Oak Mountain State Park, running retreat

Killer climbs for killer glutes

BUTS Women's Trail Running Retreat, Birmingham Ultra Trail Society, trail running, ultra running, Oak Mountain State Park, running retreat

Trail runners, otherwise known as mountain goats

BUTS Women's Trail Running Retreat, Birmingham Ultra Trail Society, trail running, ultra running, Oak Mountain State Park, running retreat

There’s a trail here…trust us

BUTS Women's Trail Running Retreat, Birmingham Ultra Trail Society, trail running, ultra running, Oak Mountain State Park, running retreat

Who was happy four hours into her run? This girl!

Sad you missed out on all this fun? Keep your ears open—there just might be another BUTS Women’s Trail Running Retreat next year!

BUTS Women's Trail Running Retreat, Birmingham Ultra Trail Society, trail running, ultra running, Oak Mountain State Park, running retreat

Wish you were here!

 

Help Me Run for Kids (For 12 Hours)!

By April 21, 2015 Birmingham, Running, Trail Running, Ultra Training
Run For Kids Challenge, Camp Smile-A-Mile, Southeastern Trail Series, trail running, ultra running, Oak Mountain State Park

Well friends, I have decided to make my trail race comeback in the coolest way possible—next Saturday I’m doing the Run for Kids 12-hour Challenge and raising money for children with cancer to go to camp.

Run For Kids Challenge, Camp Smile-A-Mile, Southeastern Trail Series, trail running, ultra running, Oak Mountain State Park

Because all kids deserve to have shaving cream wars

Why is this race so special, you ask? David and Mary Jo Tosch of Southeastern Trail Series donate 100% of proceeds to Camp Smile-A-Mile—an organization that provides year-round camp services for kids with cancer, their families and siblings, and cancer survivors. Tosch started Run for Kids in 2011, basing it off the popular Ride of Love. Every year since then, Run for Kids has grown and donated more money—last year they raised over $8,000!

Run For Kids Challenge, Camp Smile-A-Mile, Southeastern Trail Series, trail running, ultra running, Oak Mountain State Park

And run!

Y’all. I never ask for donations. Ever. But I’m going to now. Please consider donating, whether it’s a flat amount or sponsoring me for something like $1 (or $100!)/mile I run. FYI—I’m shooting to run between 40 and 50 miles. That’s like a nice dinner out. You can afford that!

Not quite convinced yet? Here’s why you should loosen up your purse strings for the kiddos:

You worry about PRs, these kids worry about surviving until prom.

Run For Kids Challenge, Camp Smile-A-Mile, Southeastern Trail Series, trail running, ultra running, Oak Mountain State Park

Party animals

You worry about roots or potholes, these kids are happy to get out of bed and walk.

You worry about hydration vest tubes and bottles—oh wait, IV tubes are just a tad bit worse.

Rolled your ankle? These kids wish that’s all they had to worry about.

Run For Kids Challenge, Camp Smile-A-Mile, Southeastern Trail Series, trail running, ultra running, Oak Mountain State Park

Remember your summer camp lanyards?

Your aid stations = bacon and Tailwind. Their aid stations = chemo cocktails.

A few bucks will buy you a new Lulu outfit. A few bucks will buy them another day of enjoying life.

Run For Kids Challenge, Camp Smile-A-Mile, Southeastern Trail Series, trail running, ultra running, Oak Mountain State Park

Tosch. You’re killing me. #allthetears

You want to be first in your age group. They sure as hell don’t want to have cancer in their age group.

Run For Kids Challenge, Camp Smile-A-Mile, Southeastern Trail Series, trail running, ultra running, Oak Mountain State Park

I want to just scoop them up and hug them!

You want to hurry up and finish a run. They wish they could run all day.

Your win = buckle. Their win = life.

These kids need superheros in their life, and we trail runners can be their superheros.

 

If you want to help, you can sponsor me and let me know how much per mile you’d like to donate, or go here and select “Other Event” and type in Run for Kids. And tell me that you donated! I’ll bake cookies and give you hugs! And love you forever.

Run For Kids Challenge, Camp Smile-A-Mile, Southeastern Trail Series, trail running, ultra running, Oak Mountain State Park

Help me help them!

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