Are you a slave to pharma speak?

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Are you a slave to pharma speak?
Are you a slave to pharma speak?

Bottom line. Chime in. Pushback. 

It's always fun to track the words and turns of phrase that come into fashion in pharma. These come and go, making their appearance in company meetings, agency halls, and biotech boardrooms. No one is immune. Often these expressions are passed along so quickly that we don't even realize we're using them. Until someone points it out. 

Here are 4 commonly heard favorites:

Circle back.

I worked with a client who said this all the time, along with "close the loop" and "come full circle." I realized that she was living in a world not of linear, but of circular connections. I liked this as it seemed somehow friendlier, except I always had the ominous phrase, "circle the wagons" in my head when we spoke.

Flesh it out.

This phrase is often used by people who are looking at something like an outline that should become a full report. The metaphor, pretty straightforward, is of a skeleton that needs some meat on its bones. However, this phrase has been altered along the way to sometimes be said as "flush it out," bringing to mind other associations that we totally enjoy.

Change the paradigm.

Everyone is always looking for a way to say that a certain therapy or company or methodology is different than anything before it. 

"Redefining" is a big word in this category, as is "game changing" and "moving the needle."

Say my name.

Everyone loves to hear his or her name spoken during conversation. That's the theory, anyway, behind the practice of inserting people's first names into presentations and discussions. As in, "That's a good question, Bob," or "Would you agree, Bob, that this is a good time to give me your money?"

Role play.

Also interesting is when someone in a meeting suddenly launches into a simulated rep call to make a point. This involves addressing someone at the meeting as if he or she were an MD. As in "So, Dr. Bodenner, can I count on you to write this product for the next 10 patients who come into your office?" I'm pretty sure this only happens in pharma. Always makes me want to reach for a script pad.

The way we communicate at work is always shifting as new buzzwords and styles of expression enter the public consciousness. Some are very visual, like "throw someone under the bus" or "put a stake in the ground." Some, like "open the kimono" and "kumbaya" are kind of weird. Others we've heard way too many times, like "out of the box,"  "game plan," and "at the end of the day."

Maybe someday we'll stop relying on the same business cliches. Until then, we'll keep on changing the paradigm, one game changer at a time. Flesh that out? You got it!

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