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Topic: 9) What happened? (1 of 3), Read 79 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Barbara Wallraff (msgrammar@theatlantic.com)
Date: Wednesday, November 03, 1999 07:29 AM

Tracey Osborn, of Salinas, Calif., writes, "The concept of debriefing has become increasingly important in a group/team effort in my life. This effort involves intense work to be accomplished in a very short period of time. It is essential to the ongoing success that the process be reviewed and discussed so that improvements may be made and also to create a more cohesive group/team. The closest word is 'debrief,' but that word has negative militaristic connotations and I just plain don't even want to speak it!! Any suggestions?"

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Topic: 9) What happened? (2 of 3), Read 76 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Roger Gay (roger.f.gay@telia.se)
Date: Wednesday, November 03, 1999 09:28 AM

I think the old-fashioned word (like last month) was "review," which is mentioned in the question. My guess is that the word "debrief" may have come into play when a consulting company was pretending to have a new or different concept for the well established routine that professionals in your field already know about. Consulting companies tend to do that when they don't have anything special to offer. They sell the use of new words that generally only tend to confuse the work process.

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Topic: 9) What happened? (3 of 3), Read 22 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Pete Horne (paypete1st@aol.com)
Date: Wednesday, November 17, 1999 02:18 PM

I don't connect "debrief" with the military as much as with formality. It connotes to me a more formal closure to an event than a mere review. If I attend a formal meeting, I am often "briefed" prior to it. During the session the disicussion is "reviewed" by the participants. Following the meeting I may have to "brief" my management, or to put it another way I get "debriefed". The terms seem to convey precisely the meaning intended, so I am not sure another word is needed. As a side note, "debriefing" meant something else when I was in school, and was extremely uncomfortable. Business "debriefings" are no different.


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