Annoying Buzzwords

by Sharlyn Lauby on September 28, 2009

It’s that time of year when people start socializing around lists of the most annoying office buzzwords.  There are lots of these lists out there…here’s one that has gone viral.

I understand the need for people to stay on the cutting edge in terms of thoughts, ideas and the way they present them.  But what I don’t comprehend is how people can imply that others will disconnect from you just for uttering a single word.

Let me circle back with my apprehension about these lists.  My beef is that all they do is tell you what not to say.  For example, leading one of these lists is the word “leverage”.  If you aren’t supposed to say leverage, then what are you supposed to say?  I’m having a hard time believing if I use the word leverage in a sales presentation, it all of a sudden becomes a game changer.

I believe if you’re going to publish a list of the words that people should strike from their vocabulary…then reach out and give them replacement words.  Interface with your employees by telling them what they’re supposed to say – it creates a real value-add.  How difficult can that be?

My two-cents:  your vocabulary belongs to you.  I mean, it is what it is – right?

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{ 8 comments }

Bonita September 28, 2009 at 8:18 am

I went to a relocation seminar for HR people recently where the presenter used a ton of buzz words – including strategic, ROI, decision maker, leverage, value-add etc… The presentation was “dumbed down”, which made it seem like a total sales pitch. Too many buzz words+ not enough meaty content = waste of time.

adowling September 28, 2009 at 10:03 am

I dont have a probelm with buzz words when they are used correctly. Those people that use them to try to sound more professional or trendy quickly lose my attention. It all comes down to how you use them, like in Bonitas example above.

laurie ruettimann September 28, 2009 at 2:39 pm

I want to leverage my experience and engage with your readers.

You need to make a HR buzzword bingo sheet (or sheets) that we can use for meetings!

Dave Pritchard September 29, 2009 at 7:02 am

What it is, is what it was, depending on what your definitionOF is, IS!

Dave Pritchard September 29, 2009 at 7:04 am

Sorry, I got wrapped around the axle, at the end of the day, after getting on the bus, while not on the same page.

Dave Pritchard September 29, 2009 at 7:05 am

Just keepin it Real.

BTW I agree with adowling!

Robb September 29, 2009 at 9:25 am

I think words come down to the situation. If they rise out of the silent reflection of what they mean then buzz or no buzz they will have an impact in the dialogue. If they are just “buzz” or “words” they will show their lack of value in their use.

Jennifer V. Miller September 29, 2009 at 12:23 pm

One that’s starting to annoy me is “transparent”. Seems like everything from leadership, to government, to school board policies has to be see-through. I admire the intention, but the phrase is losing its power due to over use.

Might I suggest (tongue firmly planted in cheek):

Gossamer, gauzy or diaphanous? ;>)

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