20 Business Buzzwords You Want to Kill

22 12 2010

The results are in. Based on our unscientific poll of members of about a dozen PR, marketing, communications and business LinkedIn groups, there are multitudes of words and phrases that grace the business lexicon that you would like to banish forever.

Some are perfectly good words and phrases that suffer from overuse, some have been hijacked by consultants and have lost all meaning, and some, it appears, we just abhor because an annoying boss or colleague uses them.

Anyway, from approximately 500 nominations made over the past several weeks, here are the top 20 business buzzwords  that your colleagues would like to see gone, followed by a nominator’s comment:

1. At the end of the day – “At the end of the day, it’s night. So what?”

2. Solutions / solution provider – “Everything is a solution, not a product or service. They’ve even turned solutions into a verb – solutioning? C’mon people, just stop!”

3. Low hanging fruit – “Can’t we just saying ‘quick wins’? And why don’t we ever talk about the ‘high hanging fruit?’”

4. Moving/going forward – “Shorthand for: whatever I say after this, don’t ever let it happen again!”

5. Leverage – “Bizspeak for ‘we’re really going to put the screws to someone now.’ And the someone may be you.”

6. Out of / outside the box – “Out of the box and into the garbage!”

7. Value add / value added / added value – “If you add up all the value adds, you’ll get 110 percent”

8. Thought leader / leadership – “Or is it that you just thought you were a leader?”

9. Synergy / synergize – “Derives from the words synthetic – imitation – and energy, so we’re talking about fake energy?”

10. Cutting / leading edge – “Unless you’re talking about saws or airplanes, forget the edge.”

11. Circle back – “Consultant speak for what a group does after they put things in buckets, did deep dives in the fishbowl, performed a wash up and got on the same bus.”

12. Reach out – “Can’t we just say contact or call?”

13. Talk / meet offline – “Means I want you to stop talking now and will rip you a new one later, when there are no witnesses around!”

14. Granular / granularity – “Unless we’re talking about sand or sugar, let’s just say examine closely. Next we’ll be looking at the atomic level.”

15. Bandwidth – “Hijacked from the IT world, let’s send bandwith back where it belongs, cyberspace!”

16. Utilize – “Like many verbs ending in -ize (especially those fabricated from adding -ize to a noun to try to make it a verb), could be said in a clearer, simpler way … in this case, use.”

17. Incentivize – see Utilize above.

18. Best of breed / best in class / world class – “Best of breed – yuck! Let’s leave the animal husbandry terms out of this!”

19. It is what it is – “Of course it is, otherwise it would be what it isn’t, which it clearly is not … is it?”

 20. Engagement / engage – “Unless we’re talking about an impending wedding, engagement causes my enragement!”

Thanks to all for their nominations and comments. We’ll cover some of the other nominees, some emerging buzzwords destined for 2011’s list and some of the more amusing comments in a future blog.

Finally, moving forward, at the end of the day, we wish you a best-in-breed holiday and a value-added New Year full of synergy and granularity!

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12 responses

23 12 2010
Hubbs Grimm

Great list, but you missed my (least) favorite: “take it to the next level”. Take what? Which level are you at today? How many other people are at that next level? The champion of obfuscation and lazy thinking about specific goals.

23 12 2010
Jim Bianchi

Thanks, Hubbs. TITTNL was one of 250+ nominees, but apparently wasn’t irritating enough to most readers to make it into the top 20.

30 12 2010
boblondon

The word ‘buzzword’ should be banned!

6 01 2011
KVBPR Healthcare.com Blog » Buzzwords – Do They REALLY Impress?

[...] two blogs that caught my eye were a little different.  First, was 20 Business Buzzwords You Want to Kill.  I was hooked at #1:  At the end of the day – “At the end of the day, it’s night. So [...]

6 01 2011
Aileen Katcher

Thanks for a great intro to my first blog post of the year Jim.

7 01 2011
Jargon isn’t just boring, it’s risky | Beyond PR

[...] the end of each year comes a raft of blog posts and forum discussions railing against jargon that’s been over used to the nth degree, and now borders upon ridiculous.   As I guffawed, [...]

28 03 2011
Lynette

I’m so happy you listed utilize – I can’t stand that word!

31 10 2011
Caspar Jans (@CasparTCJans)

Great list. It is so unbelievably recognizable. There are still too many people in my company who think these buzzwords are “cool”.

22 11 2011
Christine

Into the dustbin with all of them! Note that synergy isn’t a mix of synthetic and energy and doesn’t mean fake energy. The inventor Buckminster Fuller popularized the word in the forties and fifties, which comes from the Greek syn-ergos, meaning working together.

22 11 2011
Christine

My new irritation: “on a go-forward basis.” Can’t we just say “now”?

29 11 2011
What are the business buzzwords you’d like to delete from the lexicon for 2012? | LinkedIn – Branding, marketing, public relations

[...]  http://jbianchi777.wordpress.com/2010/12/22/20-business-buzzwords-you-want-to-kill/ [...]

5 01 2012
Our Top 5 PR Blog Posts for 2011 « Bianchi Biz Blog

[...] 3 20 Business Buzzwords You Want to Kill [...]

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