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Business Slang: Socialize

Business Slang: Socialize

by Frank Roche on January 28, 2008

in Business Slang

Business SlangDogs can be socialized. Cats can usually be socialized. But what about a wild idea?

Is “socialize” even slang?
“Socialize” is a real word, right? I used to socialize. It means to hang out with your friends, doesn’t it? Since we had so much fun adding -wise to words over the past 50 or so years – think businesswise, costwise, and timewise – adding the near homonym -ize comes almost naturally. Scary. For that reason, it’s these -ize slang words that I find most insidious. We can test an idea. If we must -ize people, can we familiarize them with ideas?

Is socializing new?
We’ve been familiarizing people with ideas for decades. Those ideas have seen a lot of abuse. We’ve thrown them against the wall to see if they stick. We’ve tossed them in the pool to see if they make a splash. And, we’ve floated them in trial balloons. While we were doing all of that inside of companies, we socialized ideas on potential customers by releasing vaporware.

Why do we socialize, anyway?
We socialize to do things like (deep breath) gain team share. Huh? Yep… and I’m going to explain it with more generally accepted business slang. Gaining team share means forming a consensus, getting buy-in, or building ownership. Usually this is done by creating the illusion that the group being socialized actually helped hatch the idea. Basically, in business, socializing is the means to an end. We socialize to get to do what we want to do. In life, socializing is the end – it is what we want to do.

If I had to guess, someone thought gaining team share was sort of like gaining mind share, only with teams. Consumer product companies spend countless advertising dollars trying to gain mind share – awareness of their product. Someone adapted/slaughtered this concept and began to spend countless hours trying to gain team share – support from a team of people for an idea.

If you have any creative ways to socialize your ideas, run them up your office flagpole to see who salutes.

About Business Slang
Business Slang is a weekly feature on KnowHR. It runs every Monday.

In Business Slang, we’ll help you keep up with the latest slang to make the rounds in corporate meetings rooms. You have your favorites, too. Please send your HR and business slang suggestions to business [DOT] slang [AT] knowhr.com – we’ll feature some in an upcoming articles.

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