If you have watched “The Office,” you might remember the scene where Jim is asked to create a “rundown” in season five episode 21. Jim has no idea what creating a “rundown” means and struggles throughout the day to figure it out. This scene describes a lot of my summer internship. In the corporate and agency world, it can sometimes feel like people are speaking a different language with all of the special terms and phrases that are used. With some help from Scripps PRSSA alumni (shout out to Alyssa Murtagh and Emily O’Flynn), I created a quick guide to some of the most important industry jargon you might need to know.
Deck is one of the more basic terms that you might have heard already in college. It is just a presentation, like a PowerPoint. In my experience, most of the time people in “the real world” use PDF versions of a presentation.
An activation is essentially a fancy way to say “campaign.” For example, the “We Belong to Something Beautiful” campaign you might have seen last summer form Sephora was a summer activation.
TB (touch base)
A TB meeting usually stands for a “touch base” meeting. This can be a one on one with a supervisor or a small meeting to discuss a project or account.
Alignment is another way of saying that you are on the same page. At Sephora the editorial team often had alignment meetings with the design team to get updates about current projects and to make sure they were still moving in the same direction or “aligned.”
This term can refer to when you send your pitch to a journalist or member of the media and someone says they are interested in picking up the story.
This is mostly used in the agency world and refers to the time spent working on projects for clients. These hours are billed to the client, hence why it’s called “billable.”
This acronym stands for “follow up” and will usually be used in a sentence such as “make sure you FU with the client.”
This acronym means “out of office” and is used to let people know that someone will not be in office that day.
COVID-19 might have already taught you this term, “work from home.” Many companies allow their employees to work from home a few days a week, and you might see “Haley WFH” on your calendar to let you know that person will be working from home that day.
This acronym stands for “paid time off.” PTO time refers to paid vacation time, and also is a term that will often show up on your calendar so you are aware when people will be out of the office.
This term is often used in sentences such as, “Flag this to the client.” In other words, “Let’s send an email to the client to give them a heads up.”
Evergreen usually refers to a story or campaign that can be used all year around and isn’t time specific.
A stand up is usually a quick meeting where everyone simply stands up and congregates to listen to an announcement.
Before you start your summer internship or job, read this guide to jargon that you might come across. Knowing these terms will have you feeling like a confident badass during your first few weeks! Every company has different meanings and terms they use, so take my advice with a grain of salt. If someone says something and you don’t know what it means, don’t be like Jim. Start by Googling the term and if you can’t find it there, just ask!
Haley Bender is a journalism strategic communication major and can be found on Twitter @haleynbender