A Look At Sports Slang In The Work place

For Aussies, Grand Final Football weekend is on the horizon, and, with it, sports parlance will no doubt be hear dall around the country. Phrases like “the ball’s in your court”, and the like will be common.

Well, more common. Phrases like “roll with the punches”, and the like actually see a fair amount of use, even outside of the context of sports or sporting events. Even in the workplace, it wouldn’t be surprising for you or me to hear such phrases in the daily meeting, not just during team building activities or the like.

To that end, the AU’s Macquarie University, led by a lecturer in Linguistics at the University, Dr. Nick Wilson, conducted a research that studied the language and phrases used by Rugby teams, before comparing them to recorded meetings from over 26 organisations, including private companies, government, hospitals, and charities, observing people’s interaction as part of Dr. Wilson’s PhD research at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand.

It isn’t so surprising to hear that, the research found that the structure of language in companies and sports teams were actually fairly similar.

Dr. Wilson explains that the CEO or coach will look back in order to see what has been achieved by the office or team over the course of the project or game, analysing the positives and negatives, constructively criticizing where needed as well as focus on specific people to praise but rarely to reproach them.

In both environments, Dr. Wilson says, the term ‘we’ is used as replacement for ‘you’, which is done to lessen the impact of communication, to reinforce the fact that everyone is in a team, and instilling in everyone collective responsibility for both successes and failures.

The research is aimed at helping people understand how language is used to foster leadership skills, establish team identity, instil inclusiveness, as well as negotiating the norms of politeness and power within organisations, key factors in determining how well it operates in its chosen environs.

Pull aside all of the scientific parlance and academics, this, ultimately shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone. One, sports are a key facet of modern life, to the point of obsession for some people. Secondly, the core ideas that dictate a sports team’s performance; cooperation, proper communication,  inclusiveness, and the like, are ideas that can be applied pretty much everywhere that people have to cooperate.

All the same, the research sheds light on what makes such effective teams and offices, and, in this day and age, where efficiency is king and team building activities are prevalent, that’s always worthwhile.