Q: I've just sat through a team meeting full of clichés and management speak. I blame the consultants that we were using. I think we might have caught it from them or watching too much of The Apprentice. Either way, the meeting felt too artificial and what's worse, I'm not sure I understand what many of us were saying. Do you think I should confront the team?

A: You know, I've got nothing against jargon or even three-letter acronyms: it's usually a very efficient and accurate way to communicate between colleagues. Yet what separated Abe Lincoln from most politicians was his plain speaking, his welcome grasp of brevity and that his point was always understood by his audience. You sound like a plain speaking woman and I have seen down-to-earth participants change a meeting by using resolutely straightforward language and gently challenging others to clarify what they really mean: when you say run it up the flagpole and see who salutes, do you mean a full trial or market research?

You may well discover after a few such contributions that the Emperor has no clothes and what is going on is replacing communications with tedious verbal theatre. Magically, you will see your colleagues, one by one, relieved that sound wisdom has returned and that actions and decisions can now take place!

Q: I've been put in charge of a new project and I feel out of my depth. How do I ask for help?

A: You are obviously an ambitious young man who wants to prove he can take on big tasks and succeed, and very clearly feel asking for help is a career-threatening weakness.

As Henry Ford once observed: either you think you can or you think you can't, either way you're right. I have seen many talented managers who feel overawed initially, but once they become engaged and accept that progress requires risk-taking, they suddenly mature.

Critically, make sure you have an excellent network throughout the business. Time and again, I see managers who sense they are in a tight spot being given solutions by their colleagues and customers. Let's be clear, if you're heading towards a train crash, the sooner you share that the better. Don't be mealy mouthed about it.

A tough project is an ideal way to demonstrate your excellence. Your boss obviously thinks you can do it so don't give up at the first sign of difficulty. If it was easy they wouldn't have given it to you. Prove him right, be courageous but never fear shouting "help" if you really have hit an iceberg.