(It’s All Semantics 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.)
It’s All Semantics
Semantics – basically the meaning or interpretation of words – is an important linguistic discipline.
On second thought, not so much of a discipline as a study.
Actually, semantics is more of a branch of knowledge than a study, now that we think about it.
Well, to be precise…
Yikes, it looks like we’re getting bogged down in the semantics! Of course, according to some annoying managers, it’s all semantics. To this group, there are no longer any legitimate disagreements because it’s all semantics.
Truthfully though, it can’t all be semantics; sometimes it is what it is, right? (Ugh; we are annoying ourselves writing some of these.)
Whenever someone casually throws in it’s all semantics in a meeting, we want to cringe. Don’t get us wrong, we are not anti-semants; it’s just that those uttering this phrase often overuse it to explain away every difference of opinion in business.
It’s all semantics becomes their catchall category to describe nearly any disagreement about what was said or implied. Hint: It’s not all semantics. Most often, it’s a very clear misunderstanding by one of the parties that has nothing to do with semantics and everything to do with either speaking clearly or listening attentively.
Semantical discussions were fun in high school, unheard of during Steve’s four years in the US Marine Corps, fun again in college, useless in business. If there really are semantical issues in your business, it’s likely the cause of some annoying manager using too many of the phrases in this book.
If you are the leader, learn to speak plainly. Ask for exactly what you want, and then test for comprehension. Check in occasionally to ensure everyone is still working toward the same goal and offer your assistance.
If you ever find yourself saying it’s all semantics to explain any disagreement, find a mirror and take a good look at the real problem. Business, after all, is not hard, it just takes work… and it’s almost never semantics.
Replacement phrases: No replacement needed; this one is just wasted breath.
The 30,000-Pound Gorilla in the Room is available on Amazon