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Irritating corporate jargon: Are you guilty?


Business jargon is always going to grate, from the meaningless clichés to the 'right-on' Americanisms. But are you guilty of using any of these?

The corporate world is teeming with clichés, buzzwords and industry jargon which can lead to a 'disconnect' between co-workers (i.e. you have no idea what they're saying, but you nod and smile anyway). 'Viral' terms and phrases like these are among the most overused in the office, according to a recent Accountemps survey.

In a poll of 150 senior US executives from the country's 1,000 largest companies, executives were asked, 'what is the most annoying or overused phrase or buzzword in the workplace today?' Their responses included:

  • Leverage: As in, 'we intend to leverage our investment in IT infrastructure across multiple business units to drive profits'.
  • Reach out: As in, 'remember to reach out to customers impacted by the change'.
  • It is what it is: As in, 'the server is down today, and clients are irate. It is what it is'.
  • Viral: As in, 'our video has gone viral'.
  • Game changer: As in, 'transitioning from products to solutions was a game changer for our company'.
  • Disconnect: As in, 'there is a disconnect between what the consumer wants and what the product provides'.
  • Value-add: As in, 'we have to evaluate the value-add of this activity before we spend more on it'.
  • Circle back: As in, 'I'm heading out of the office now, but I will circle back with you later'.
  • Socialise: As in, 'we need to socialise this concept with our key stakeholders'.
  • Interface: As in, 'My job requires me to interface with all levels of the organisation'.

Accountemps conducted a similar survey in 2004. The following 'Hall-of-Fame' buzzwords were cited in both surveys:

  • At the end of the day
  • Synergy
  • Solution
  • Think outside the box
  • On the same page
  • Customer-centric

Some phrases cited in the most recent survey suggest executives are suffering from recession fatigue, including:

  • Recession
  • Depression
  • Economy
  • Do more with less
  • Restructuring
  • Downsizing
  • Gloom and doom
  • Pay freeze
  • Bailout
  • Overworked

The advice is to avoid overused terms, particularly in formal communication as this can help workers more effectively convey their message.

Article republished from our sister website

Is there any corporate jargon from the training world that really gets your goat? Share your clichés below!

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