I saw this post recently on Jennifer McClure’s Unbridled Talent blog and I can’t resist commenting. I was going to reach out to her directly, but decided I’d like to pick your brain on the subject of buzzwords or buzzphrases.
I totally understand where Jennifer is coming from in her post. I hear phrases like “There’s no ‘I’ in team” or “This one’s in your wheelhouse” and wonder, “Can’t we think outside the box and get a little more creative with our vocabulary?”
Then I realize it is what it is. Those words and phrases have meaning. They give the reader or listener a frame of reference because they are commonly used terms. Let’s face it, not everyone is able to come up with unique game changing phrases every single time. I’m certainly not able and we shouldn’t expect others to.
If anything, I believe the challenge with some buzzphrases is in the interpretation. For example, does “we want to partner with you” really mean partner or does it mean one person does the work and the other reaps the benefit? Or does “take one for the team” mean admit a mistake or become the scapegoat? It’s okay to use buzzphrases as long as people understand the meaning. If people don’t understand, then you might want to take that off-line to confirm clarity.
Also let’s open the kimono and admit that sometimes in business we have to use buzzwords to demonstrate we’re a part of the team and we’ve drunk the kool-aid. For instance, if you’re a sales manager, and your biggest prospective client uses the term “socialize”, guess what? To get in bed with that client, you’ll start using the term “socialize”.
At the end of the day, aren’t we all a little guilty of using buzzwords? Sometimes because it’s just the way we communicate and other times because we want to use the lingo all the cool kids are using. As business professionals, we can kick the can down the road or admit that sometimes there’s a time and place for a well-worn buzzword.
What do you think?
Image courtesy of HR Bartender