Let’s take this offline

Office jargon has a bad rap, but it helps you communicate more effectively at work. Let’s learn a bit more today.

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

A few months ago, I shared some useful office jargon with you in my article “Learning how to speak again.” Today, I’d like to build on that a bit. I’ll keep throwing some more jargon at you periodically to help you build up your vocabulary. Remember, the goal is not to become a jargon-spewing automaton, it’s to communicate more professionally and effectively.

Today’s term is “let’s take this offline.”

Meetings frequently go off-track when someone wants to dig down too deep into details when you only have a limited time to go over a lot of ground. You will inevitably find yourself in a situation where you have thirty minutes to cover a topic broadly, but two people hijack your meeting and start talking about one small point.

When this happens, you can suggest the discussion be taken offline to politely get the meeting back on track.

For example:

You: “I called this meeting to discuss the upcoming laptop refresh. We have some staff that have been using the same laptops for four years now, and they’re out of warranty. They’re also using Windows 7, which is not being supported by Microsoft anymore. I’d like to talk about how we’ll message this to staff so that it’s minimally disruptive.”

Bob: (Interrupting you.) “We still have Windows 7 laptops out? Those stopped getting updates months ago! Why didn’t we upgrade everyone?”

Sue: “We had an issue with that. We tried to create an upgrade task sequence but it kept failing.”

Bob: “What was the error?”

You: “Actually, why don’t we take this offline? I’d really like to know as well, but I wanted to use this time to talk about a communication strategy. I’ll throw some time on your calendars for later today.”

And just like that, you’ve regained control of your meeting. I like this phrase because it’s a non-confrontational way of letting someone know they’ve gone off on a tangent, and this refocuses them on the goal you’re trying to accomplish.

You can use this with folks that are more senior to you, but do use common sense: you probably shouldn’t use this with your CEO!

With each post, I cover a new topic to help you get your start (or keep progressing) in your IT career. If it’s your first time visiting this blog, start here. Or, see all my posts about interview questions you should definitely be prepared for.