Let’s take it offline

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Conference Call Anatomy™

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Let’s take it offline
/lɛts teɪk ɪt ˌɒfˈlaɪn/ (phr.)

1. A sure sign, in an all-hands conference call, that some ingénue has made the fatal mistake of dropping through the cloud-base of cliché into that inconvenient morass of substance and detail.

2. (Informal): Business slang for “You are a total moron”.

3. (Informal): Business slang for “I am a total moron”.

The world of substance and subject matter expertise is, for those who perpetrate conference calls on their colleages, a grim place of intractable ugliness, inhabited by dark and violent morlocks. IT is immune to resolution by crystalline management theory, and therefore should not, in any circumstances, be broached on a conference call. You have as much chance of persuading a management consultant to embrace the actual workings of daily life in the organisation as you do of persuading someone who quite likes steak to help you slaughter a cow.

Fortunately, there’s a ready-made defence should someone make this tactical mistake. Expect a hasty plea to “take it offline” which, by tonal inflection, you might read as:


  1. “Such as, ooh, I don’t know, the redundancy of the clot who asked that idiotic question?”