Wednesday, 2 October 2013

10 Business Buzz words we love to hate.

If you’re working in the corporate world right now it’s highly likely that you will be all too familiar with many of the following phases. I’m sure like me we are all guilty of using any one of these at some time.
Maybe we think it makes us sound terribly clever or it’s a rouse to make people think we actually know what we are talking about or indeed as a way of convincing your boss you should get promoted.
However, all these do is aid miscommunication as everyone reads something different into the ‘real message it conveys’.

I’ve taken a conscious decision to avoid all of these hackneyed phrases and find a more original way of talking/thinking. Its easier said than done! ‘Old habits die hard’.  I hope you have better luck!

 So here we have my 10 most hated clichés along with how I think they really translate. Don't forget to scroll to the bottom for some great clips including my personal favourite  'The Teleconference'.

Credit to Forbes here for some great explanations

Buy in
Agreement on a course of action, if the most disingenuous kind. Notes David Logan, professor of management and organization at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business: “Asking for someone’s ‘buy-in’ says, ‘I have an idea. I didn’t involve you because I didn’t value you enough to discuss it with you. I want you to embrace it as if you were in on it from the beginning, because that would make me feel really good.’”

Best Practice
Refers to a method or technique that delivers superior results compared with other methods and techniques. It is also perhaps the single most pompous confection the consulting industry has ever dreamed up.

Think Outside the Box
To approach a business problem in an unconventional fashion. Kudos to a reader who suggested: "Forget the box, just think." 

This word has infiltrated nearly every cube and conference room in the country. Blame Stephen Covey, author of 7 Habits of Highly Successful People. (No. 6 is Synergize.) Of this habit, Covey writes, "To put it simply, synergy means two heads are better than one." The same advice was preached several decades earlier on the hit show Sesame Street. Big Bird called it "cooperation."


Like most educated people, Michael Travis, an executive search consultant, knows how to conjugate a verb. That's why he cringes when his colleagues use the word "learning" as a noun. As in: "I had a critical learning from that project," or "We documented the team's learnings." Whatever happened to simply saying: "I learned a lesson from that project?" Says Travis: "Aspiring managers would do well to remember that if you can't express your idea without buzzwords, there may not be an idea there at all."

Reach Out
Jargon for “let’s set up a meeting” or “let’s contact this person.” Just say that---and unless you want the Human Relations department breathing down your neck, please don’t reach out unless clearly invited.

Window of Opportunity
This breezy expression refers to the amount of time, usually brief, in which to take action; when the window shuts, dreams of freedom die. Better scramble through that sucker. Or at least “take action.”

Low-Hanging Fruit
You’d rather not have to climb the tree to get your apple, so you curb your hunger by picking the low-hanging ones. Same goes for business tasks and opportunities. Except that no one knows which tasks and opportunities you’re talking about, or whether ticking them off, easy as that sounds, is a good idea in the first place.

Take Offline

An equally absurd variation of ‘let’s put this on the backburner.’ This means to postpone addressing an issue---one that may have nothing to do with the Internet. Unless you’re talking about removing your company’s Facebook page, you’re probably not taking anything offline. 

The granddaddy of nouns converted to verbs. ‘Leverage’ is mercilessly used to describe how a situation or environment can be manipulated or controlled. Leverage should remain a noun, as in “to apply leverage,” not as a pseudo-verb, as in “we are leveraging our assets.” 


How to start a buzz word revolution?
A quick round of Buzzword Bingo soon raises everyone’s awareness of the issue and an embargo on some common clichés actually forces people to find real words to explain it in plain English.

Watch this video to see what one Tech company has done to ban buzz words.

And finally... just because I love this scarily accurate video about Teleconferences.