(Impact is an annoying business term and is just one of the 212 Most Annoying Business Phrases Managers Effuse, Confuse, and Overuse detailed in the hilarious must-have guide for every workplace: The 30,000-Pound Gorilla in the Room. Available right now on Amazon.)
Despite what you’ll read in the dictionary, impact is a noun; never a verb.
Yes, we’re overriding generations of Websters here. We’re doing this because, in the workplace, the overuse of impact as a verb has become epidemic.
No longer do we change, challenge, effect, grow, or even attack something, someone, or some company. Today, we impact it, him, her, or them.
What does that mean? Is it a good thing? Is it a bad thing? We often have no idea… we just know the situation demands we impact… and we impact now.
Where once your annoying manager would explain how we need to grow sales, today she tells you we need to impact sales. Umm, excuse us, but wouldn’t reducing sales also be correct if we’re only instructed to impact them?
Yes, our point exactly! Positive or negative outcomes are only implied when the higher ups demand we impact something.
Today, we’re asked to impact so much in the workplace, we fear we’ll never be rid of this annoying usage. Our only hope is to demand clarity when asked to impact something. Perhaps this will help the chronically annoying jettison their ear-bleeding need we impact everything.
Here’s how we’ll do it: beginning today, when your boss or coworker uses impact as a verb, just ask them to explain what they mean.
For example, your manager says, “We’ll need all hands on deck to impact sales this week.”
Just reply as genuinely as possible and with no snark detectable in your tone, “Does this mean you want us to expand or contract sales this week?”
Do this enough times and you’ll never hear this boss use impact as a verb again… because, of course, you’ll be unemployed. No one likes a smartass.
Replacement phrases: Effect; Attack; Grow; Improve
See also: Incremental Improvement
The 30,000-Pound Gorilla in the Room is available on Amazon