A manager's misguided attempt to sound cool

There's nothing wrong with speaking informally at work, but direct communication is still the best plan

Dear Bob ...

Just when did "reach out" replace "contact" or "call"? One of our managers really did say to me, "I'll have my secretary reach out to you and set up an appointment."

[ Also on InfoWorld: Now that you've alienated your colleagues, find out how to build a strong relationship with your boss, with or without their help. | Get sage advice on IT careers and management from Bob Lewis in InfoWorld's Advice Line newsletter. ]

If people want to communicate with me, they can call or email. If they continue to reach out, I swear I will man-slap their grimy, grasping hands.

- Annoyed

Dear Annoyed ...

Beats me. Maybe it started with the old "reach out and touch someone" ad that ran back in 1984. I remember thinking at the time that AT&T was encouraging harassment suits.

In any event, this one strikes me as relatively benign. A lot of people like to use informal phrasing. Me too -- I generally use "get in touch," which, it occurs to me, also has a tactile component to it.

I'd suggest saving your man-slaps for something more important -- like anyone who still says, "I'd tell you, but then I'd have to kill you!" or other phrases that were funny the first time they was used 10 or more years ago.

- Bob

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