By Paola Pascual on Apr 12, 2022 4:54:00 AM
Slack messages and emails are getting shorter and –sometimes– more difficult to decipher. The thing is, we all have busy lives and the pace of work is too fast. That's why we come up with strategies to streamline our tasks and speed up communication. In an attempt to find short and simple ways of expressing something, acronyms were created. Explore this helpful list with the most common acronyms you will hear at work and download the cheatsheet below.
What's An Acronym?
An acronym is an abbreviation formed from the initial letters of other words to create a new, shorter word. NASA, for example, is an acronym that stands for National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Some acronyms are used so frequently that they are now used as regular words (e.g. RADAR - Radio Detection and Ranging or PIN - Personal Identification Number).
If you are wondering how to pronounce acronyms, the answer is –it depends. Many acronyms are pronounce as a regular word (e.g. NASA /ˈnasə/, RADAR /ˈreɪdɑr/, PIN /pɪn/), but others are said by spelling out the individual letters (e.g. BBC /bi bi si/).
Informal acronyms or abbreviations are those used to text friends. However, younger generations have started to use them at work. They are indeed getting more and more common in business communication, mainly on Slack, and especially among the younger sectors and when the speakers already know each other fairly well.
BTW, sometimes your HRM tells you it’s NBD and TYT but TBH they just want that file ASAP by EOD and, you know, ATEOTD, they’re the manager.
No, I didn't just bash my head on the keyboard a few times. To some people, that sentence makes sense. Let's have a look at the most common informal acronyms and abbreviations.
- BTW: By The Way
- TBH: To Be Honest
- NBD: No Big Deal
- Def: Definitely
- BC: Because
- OMY: On My Way
- LMK: Let Me Know
- WDTY: What Do You Think?
- NP: No Problem
- BRB: Be Right Back
- FYI: For Your Information
- IMO: In My Opinion
- ICYMI: In Case You Missed It
- AKA: Also Known As
- ATM: At The Moment
- ASAP: As Soon As Possible
- TYT: Take Your Time
- GTMTA: Great Minds Think Alike
- ATEOTD: At The End Of The Day
- AYW: As You Want/Wish
- IAC: In Any Case
- OT: Off Topic
- TL;DR: Too Long, Didn’t Read
Commonly Used Business Acronyms
The acronyms in the previous section are fairly common in instant messaging apps. Although they are gaining popularity in business emails, but they are very informal. In this section, you have a list of acronyms that were born in the office, so to say. They are not that informal and it is OK to use them in your emails, even when you don’t know the other person that well.
- EOM: End Of Message
- EOW: End Of Week
- EOT: End Of Thread
- COB: Close Of Business (Also EOD: End Of Day)
- OOO: Out Of Office
- RSVP: Please Respond
- N/A: Not Applicable
- TBD: To Be Decided
- AWOL: Absent Without Leave
- ETA: Estimated Time Of Arrival
- PTO: Paid Time Off
- PTE: Part-Time Employee
- NWR: Not Work Related
- Re: Referring to
- FTE: Full-Time Employee
- PTE: Part-Time Employee
Download this cheatsheet, save it in your Desktop and check it out whenever you don’t know an abbreviation, use it to prep before a meeting with any of your teams or to show off in one of your Slack channels.
Acronyms for People and Departments
It is easy to get lost if you are new in the office and you don’t know how things work yet. Get to know your people and your departments.
- CEO: Chief Executive Officer
- CFO: Chief Financial Officer
- COO: Chief Operating Officer
- CTO: Chief Technology Officer
- VP: Vice President
- HR: Human Resources
- HRM: Human Resources Manager
- QC: Quality Control
- R&D: Research & Development
- BD: Business Development
- CSR: Corporate Social Responsibility
- PR: Public Relations
- PA: Personal Assistant
- HQ: Headquarters
Acronmys to talk about money and finance.
- ACCT: Account
- AP: Accounts Payable
- AR: Accounts Receivable
- BS: Balance Sheet
- CPU: Cost Per Unit
- CR: Credit
- DR: Debit
- EPS: Earnings Per Share
- FIFO: First In, First Out
- ROA: Return On Assets
- ROI: Return On Investment
- P&L: Profit and Loss
Marketing And Sales Acronyms
Use these acronyms in the world of social media, marketing and sales.
- B2B; Business to Business
- B2C: Business to Consumer
- BR: Bounce Rate
- CMS: Content Management System
- CTA: Call To Action
- CTR: Click Through Rate
- CR: Conversion Rate
- LTV: Lifetime Value
- CRM: Customer Relationship Management
- ESM: Email Service Provider
- KPI: Key Performance Indicator
- PPC: Pay Per Click
- PV: Page View
- RT: Retweet
- SEO: Search Engine Optimization
- SM: Social Media
- SMB: Small to Medium Business
- SWOT: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats
- OC: Opportunity Cost
- WOMM: Word Of Mouth Marketing
No more nodding and pretending you understand. Make sure you know what your IT colleagues are talking about when they mention these.
- API: Application Program Interface
- CSS: Cascading Style Sheet
- FTP: File Transport Protocol
- HTTP: HyperText Transfer Protocol
- HTTPS: HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure
- IM: Instant Messaging
- IP: Internet Protocol
- ISP: Internet Service Provider
- OS: Operating System
- LAN: Local Area Network
- DNS: Domain Name System
- XML: Extensible Markup Language
- UI: User Interface
- UX: User Interface
- IT: Information Technology
- ASCII: American Standard Code for Information Interchange
- ISO: International Standards Organization
- VPN: Virtual Private Network
- RSS: Rich Site Summary
- AI: Artificial Intelligence
Keep Improving Your Business Communication Skills
Save this list and check it out any time you need it. Would you like to practice these with a native-English teacher? Get in touch with us and we'll create a business English training program tailored to your needs or explore our free resources.
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[Note: This article was originally posted in July 2019 and has been updated to ensure you keep reading relevant content today]