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What is the most annoying or overused phrase or buzzword in the workplace today? What is your favourite? Tell Us!

What examples of Business Speak (jargon) really irk you

What examples of Business Speak (jargon) really irk you?

Please leave your comments and lets have a bit of fun!



Blue sky.
Low hanging fruit

Synergy. It's used in situations where someone is trying to explain why a plan will work when the data says it won't. Whenever someone uses the word, it's hard for me to continue to listen

"High Level Overview" I hate this one because they traditonally tell you nothing that you did not know already.

"Win - Win" total B.S. as there is always a winner the supplier for securing the business the sold company does not always Win as they

Grow the business...whatever happened to "expand"?

"laser focus" -

Carolina Zumaran- I've two pet peeves...30,000 ft vision and leverage.... yikes!

Tasked as in "They've been tasked with..."

The question you did not ask is, "Why do people feel more powerful when they use the latest jargon?" Also, how about the misuse of terms? Such as the word, Strategy, but when it is used to define a particular project that supports a strategic plan.
Another term that is over used is, "Cloud". This term originally meant the ability to provide computer services through the underlying use of multiple computer systems; however because the original implementations of this came about through hackers who set up virtual systems across thousands of PCs and sold time to unsuspecting users, the definition was expanded to mean any out-sourced computer service.

What about...Think outside the box!!!? I'd !

In Silicon Valley we have moved from paradigm shift to disruptive technology...both are tiresome after awhile

Yes, I think I will award the Acedemy Award of BS jargon to "Think outside the box". Which is a code word for "why are you not smart enough to solve this problem?"

"Connect" and "Dialog" as in "Let's find time to connect [or dialog]". Whatever happened to good old "speak"?

My vote goes for "Bandwidth". "I don't have the Bandwidth." Just say you don't have the time, or better yet, fess up and state you just don't want to do it.

'Going forward'. As if going backward was an option.

So many good ones! Well done!
"ll down"

"Face time"


Re paradigm - YES!
Re: Think outside the box. I have a lovely fridge magnet that my daughter gave me. Business man looking down at cat with worried expression in litter box, saying, "Don't you ever, EVER, thinks outside the box!".
Another one - parameter.
One more - deep dive

"Holistic"" and ""thinking outside the box" but yikes Carolina I used "leverage"the other day - shoot me now!!

Well, holistic might be better if was spelled sensibly (says the Brit :0
). I’ve never understood why it’s hole in the ground but holistic, instead
of the whole thing and wholistic.

- no shooting necessary. Let he who is without guilt...
This is (mostly) for fun. Sadly lacking in many group Discusions.

Lets take that offline
Paradigm shift. Especially if you give a 50,000 ft overview (aka - an idea you haven't thought through) of a paradigm shift (something you've never seen before) to help your team of associates (the people who work for you) think outside the box (be creative) in order to leverage synergies (make money you hope is there).

Here are a couple more for you: "Ecosystem" when discussing corporate organization (the true meaning is "a community of plants, animals and smaller organisms that live, feed, reproduce and interact in the same area or environment" (Hmm... that may in fact describe some corporate organizations I know).
And a new one for me I ran into just last week "Crowdsource",,, whatever the heck that means!

So it's pretty much everything that comes out of our mouths.

Suck it up for the team,
individuals are irrelevant it's all about the team

What about "take it to the next level'? What, exactly, is the "next level"? It simply suggests that you can move from where you are to a higher perch but says nothing about how you're going to actually improve the business....

Well, I have to admit I have used some of these, but everytime I do, I tell myself that I sound

Stakeholders....... A person who wants the right to an opinion without the obligation to contribute

"come to Jesus meeting" "culture shift" "work smarter not harder"

Mark D. Palmer, "Paradigm Shift (or just paradigm)" overused and misused!

This needs to be compiled into some form of "dictionary"

Mark D. Palmer, Sorry Jim, you beat me to paradigm shift!

NP - I actually had someone I have high regard for ask me the other day if I was familiar with the term because as a consultant they were "getting a lot of traction" with it. Not wanting to be my usual sarcastic, cynical self, I had to gently explain that it had devolved into gobbledegook lingo.

Another one is parameter - seems to mean just about anything that might influence something else!
- what about a Hicktionary - the language of business hicks?

Oh, and paradigm...doesn't that mean something to do with moving two 10cent coins around?

Years ago, my dad gave me a sheet of paper with three columns of words - column 1) adverbs, column 2) verbs, column 3) nouns. Each word in each column had a number. The idea was to think up a random three digit number and then use the word in each column corresponding to those numbers to create a "Biz Phrase". It was great and created 'sensible' phrases every time (sadly, it was a joke, but I had a manager that really thought the phrases I was "generating" were exactly the kind of-out-of-the box thinking needed to "kick-start" the paradigm shift that would elevate our business model to a new economy framework.
I couldn't find the sheet, but searched and found a few similar ones, a link to one (a four column version) is below.

Matthew, that is one of the funniest things I have seen in a long time! Thanks for shifting our paradigm and enhancing our ability to authoritatively customize go forward strategic theme areas (straight from your "tool"). Priceless!

I once had some fun with a "know it all, I have an MBA and I speak business lingo type" in a management meeting once by referring to FBH's a lot when talking about a property development as in "there are FBH's all over the site ..." "a sure sign of progress when you see FBH's everywhere"
He nodded sagely throughout and then asked me to explain what they were too "those of us not as experienced as you and I norman in property development"
Of course he didn't have a clue what I was talking about and me explaining was getting him off the hook.....
The look on his face when I told them what they were was priceless......
so beware of buying into jargon if you don't know
(HINT the second two words are "big holes")

"If you think about"..

"Mission critical" used by IT folks (I "grew up" in the defense systems business where "mission critical" WAS "mission critical").
How about "Defect"? That one "bugs me" :-) Just call a bug a bug for heavens sake!
I "Win-win" though - sorry to see that on the list and would vote for it's removal. It's OK to leave it there as a bad sales word, but I think it's a great "personal value" word still.

If someone can die - it's OK to use "Mission Critical"

Jan in another life, I was a microbiologist, and ‘bug’ doesn’t mean
defect at all some bugs are very friendly and essential to health. So I
always feel I have to defend the little b*$&@

Matthew - love it! And thank you. Have already shared with some people, one of whom is an executive recruiter - told him he could use it to help clients build recruitment profiles.

Sylvia - thanks. To me, what would make sense (for a recruiter) is to create a bit of code to run all possible permutations of these phrases and dump them to a database. Then, when a new resume or cover letter comes in, run a compare (against the database) to see if any of the phrases have been included - if they have, shoot the resume to the circular file and move on...

Hi Silvia - I agree. I "bug" :-) I had a VP Software Eng change the bug tracker system to call bugs "Defects" - thought it sounded better when talking to clients. I think clients KNOW a software defect is a software bug. Now in software, they aren't so essential to health. My daughter is a microbiologist - she studied worms. I wonder why we call software issues "bugs" and not "worms"?
Jim - Haven't heard of any IT software literally killing anyone - maybe a runaway robotics system? But that would mean the system had bugs, not that the robot was "mission critical" :-)

Oh, I don’t know I’m sure some software bugs gave people heart attacks
somewhere along the line! As for worms, I thought we had those in software

And we won't start talking about killer apps ;)

Here's another one I just came across today: "onboarding"... Sheesshhh! (No, that last one doesn't qualify!)

Onboarding is a good one - and sadly, I've heard "offboarding" used too; as in, "we've got to tighten our offboarding process to avoid litigation". That one is almost as bad as being "relieved of the burden of employment".

There’s also offboarding, as in retire, quit, get booted.
Onboarding came up because of a need to recognize that orientation is not
enough that managers and HR need to work with an employee for 6-12 months
after hire, so onboarding recognizes that it is a process, not an event.
Orientation is an event within onboarding. What better term would capture
this concept?

Sylvia, we're talking about "buzz words" (business jargon) that make us crazy. That's one of them for me. You will have your own, I'm sure.
Now, to adss your very reasonable question. What's wrong with the word we have always used, i.e. "orientation"? That too is a process. There is nothing intrinsic in the definition or meaning of the word that should arbitrarily limit the process to one week or 3 months? If some employees require a longer period, the orientation process is merely longer... or it transitions in form at some point from "orientation" to "training". These terms are clear and well-understood. Onboarding", it seems to me, merely blurs these concepts without adding value.
Of course, I will be the first to agree that there are many terms in my field (law) that will irk you and a lot of other people (myself included). Bring them on. It's all in fun, after all.

Down sizing
Redundant (I REALLY HATE that one)

Artifact - very "overused" in software-related organizations. I think the term should remain in archeology.

A bunch of folk who think (?)

Yes, Robaire I agree. I don’t sounds ’re
packing sardines onto an aeroplane or something! But I do see orientation
as a process within a larger process, and it’s what to call that larger
process that is difficult. Of course, we shouldn’t even need a process
it should simply be how we treat new employees or employees in new
positions, but we seem to need a process these days before anyone can do

True, but even worse is rightsizing. Sounds more
Well…lay off employees…hmm
Upsell is another one.

Even if your boss is an artifact?????

TEAMS Trust Everything A Manager Says

Well said Sylvia from Saskatchewan :)

Reach out. Why can’t we just talk with each other.
Anything that adds ‘ize’ on the end to make it look
, I think, , we should, , use ,

Of course, there's words that SHOULD exist, but don't. A couple of favourites:
AQUADEXTROUS: Possessing the ability to turn the bathtub faucet on and off with your toes.
FRUST: The small line of debris that refuses to be swept onto the dust pan and keeps backing a person across the room until he finally decides to give up and sweep it under the rug
CARPERPETUATION: The act, when vacuuming, of running over a string or a piece of lint at least a dozen times, reaching over and picking it up, examining it, then putting it back down to give the vacuum one more chance.

While we may have our own views on its usage, "jargon" is another necessary evil in business. While we can keep our talks simple, most people use jargon as differentiators. And believe me, most times clients do get impressed with the "jargon". I am for the jargon if it is used in the right context. And it works better if the client is on the same page.

I love vision statements 'Best in Class' - makes me ask 'What for?'
Another favorite is 'we pride ourselves on customer service' - I'm yet to find a business that prides itself on NOT servicing the customer.

There is no "I" in "TEAM"

Has anybody ever played BS Bingo?
Before a meeting everybody prepares a form with 4 by 4 cases, each case containing a classic business-speak buzzword or phrase.
During the meeting, whenever you hear one of the phrases you can tick it off you form.
The first one to tick off an entire line (vertical, horizontal, or diagonal) gets to shout 'B...S..." and wins a price.

, I think "irregardless" and a "whole nother" should probably attract severe penalties

"Think strategically" and "win - win deal."

Three letter acronyms placed in an article or email and never defined.

especially since irregardless isn't a word (thank you Mrs. McGill for mming that in)

Leanne Hoagland- Social selling or value creation

So...what is the cause of all this "non-speak?" Has it always been around or does it have some origin? Is it a way to exclude others (kind of )? Is it a way to sound smarter than you are? Is it a gimmick foisted upon us by management book writers?
I understand the need for a certain amount of technical jargon especially if it adds precision to a discussion. But all this sounds a lot "pad" a term paper in college just to ve the word/page count up to try to impress the professor.
I assume this is a cross-industry phenomenon (I'm in telecom).

Jim, I think we are all guilty of it at times. I certainly am.
One of the reasons to me seems to be that as human beings we often , and we cling to the authority we attain through knowledge and information: I know, therefor I am! And I express that through the way I speak.
Another reason for jargon is the same as with teenagers: speaking the same jargon makes me feel
And then, of course, jargon is also simply used to impress or confuse others in business: as a means of power, or to cover my own incompetence.

Agree with your assessment Dominique and I'm as guilty as anyone. It's sort of been ven home to me lately as I was helping a company re-do their website. I realized a lot of the messages were full of jargon mumbo-jumbo that were meaningless to someone "off the street" who might read them. I've been making a conscious effort to make the new site speak in everyday language. Of course the embarrassing part is I'm the one who wrote the mumbo-jumbo on their site last year.

Leanne Hoagland- Many times the jargon is a way of standing out away from the crowd.
With so many people looking for the quick fix, this applies for communication as well. Yes it has always been around as long as people have communicated.
Understanding how to communicate succinctly with engaging and relevant content is an ongoing challenge given how much information each person is receiving. Even simple words such as, help, are so overused, they are also now ignored.

Dominique - I, too, hate the "no 'I' in team" comment. My usual comeback is "but there is in win".
Another one I hate is "I'm a man of few words", which is usually used to cover up an "I don't know" answer. Lovely story - I was in Uganda in 2001 doing some consulting, and my hosts has been part of the group that first were part of Idi Amin's government, went into exile before going back to overthrow him. Gad told me a story about Amin giving a big speech and saying that he was a man of few words, intending to focus on being a man of action. A child's voice from the crowd cut in, however - "I can teach you some more, if you !"

I could care less

I always used to think "Does not suffer fools gladly" was terribly arrogant, then I figured out that perhaps I had perhaps not met enough fools, then I went to work in government.....

There is no "I" in TEAM but there is a ME. To follow up on Dominique's comment, whenever I see disingenuous things "we put the customer first" I always want to ask what are numbers 2-5.
Maybe offices should have penalty boxes

I agree with "ll down." I first heard it used about a year and a half ago by the CFO of my company, when he complimented me for having really "lled down" on the monthly financial report to present appropriate data during a conference call. I call it filling out a financial report with accurate information and completing necessary monthly calculations. Apparently, they were not setting the management bar very high at that company. I didn't stay very long, as we had "cultural differences." Mainly, I got it, they didn't.

Jan McCleery - The term, bug, comes from the days of the first computers when a moth got stuck in one. One of the largest software companies calls bugs, undocumented features. Now there is a term worth everyone's derision.

Well, thanks, Jan I didn’t know about the moth. I wonder if the moth
ever understood its contribution to world order!


Allan - perhaps you needed to "ll up"? :)
Maybe we can invent some new stupid terms?

Norman - love it!
Well said Jim

Sylvia Re ""I'm a man of few words" agreed, however:
I worked with a guy who used to begin his approach with "I am a simple man..."
We all learned that this meant we were not going down the path he thought we should - and he wasn't simple at all.

The "I" in "team" is related to what the boss says "I want...."

ll up? Hmm, could that be the new jargon to describe making things
simple enough that senior leaders get it? :0(

Re the simple man - so now we are into euphemisms. That could get a whole new thread going!


I think I , Brian - being labelled as such gives me permission to eat in the middle of the night! Presumably that's what it means?

We're big on acronyms here in Australia. One of my favorites is BAU (as in 'Business as usual"), as opposed to projects.

A lean experience - that usually means that the customer now pays a premium to perform a task that used to be included as part of normal customer service.

Ganesan Thambipillay, PMP® This one scares me. " I'm a hands on individual". Plus point of coming from Opreational Management but frightening when coming from C level board members.

Hmm, this just got posted in another forum:
How to pick the right moth to trade - Wealth Creation Investing
That darn moth is still going strong!

Eric J. Jackson , "Business As Usual".....typically used when your business or organization is anything but, more than "Team, things aren't where we want them to be, but we will make it through with dedication and hard work. Stay focused on the end result and stay positive during this trying time"......

"Bleeding edge"

Using the phrase ‘in order to’. Why not just say ‘to’. OK that’s not
jargon, but it bugs the heck out of me!

Sylvia's comment reminds me of debate I used to have with a colleague about "use" vs. "utilize."

Gosh yes, Jim another bugbear. Sticking with short, solid, Anglo-Saxon
words for English is usually preferable over long, Latinate words ‘buy’
is usually stronger than ‘purchase’. Anything with ‘ize’ on the end is

Tony O' Hi Brian,
I , does not irk me one bit, Scottish jargon suits me just fine,am a Scot, as long as one knows WELL what you are about/your core business in life.

Anthony, Bide wi me man. Ye cannae blether to much in Scots jargon


I need to vent, and I've just decided I hate the word "Google".

Tony O' Hi Brian,
NIce to know you, you seem to have "the patter" good man.
Nice week, all,

Let's socialize that!

turning words into verbs, as in "inbox me" or I'll "text him"

...and now I need to review my resume and online portfolio ONE-MORE-TIME. Geez, we get so comfortable with this stuff but, in Cal's words, they get tiresome. I suppose it's a little more tolerable when the speaker really DOES know what he's talking about. Alas, in many cases he does not.

"ize-ing" things should result in public flogging. Same with "ality" which has become popular with sports announcers. "Physicality" is - will that saying go out now that we no longer have chalkboards in schools?

Sadly, I guess we'll lose the expression. Fingernails on the smart board somehow doesn't have the same symbolism! I miss chalkboards because of the memories - of lling a little hole in the end of the chalk and packing a white chemical in (can't remember which one) that then sparked and banged when the teacher wrote on the board with it. Always got us a great reaction!

"110%." You cant give more than what is possible and says to me snr mgt want more than what can possibly be achieved.

There is no I in Team.....?

functionality and physicality!

Follow Jack (John)
Jack (John) Kimbell, CHE, How about saying one thing meaning another, and then doing something totally different anyway... Also, I love oxymoron's - "People Strategy" and "Human Resources." Too often the last thing these departments think about are People or Human beings except as pawns in game of chess that are dispensable.

Oh, my heart...I’m an HR person. And I ! The problem with the
term Human Resources is it is about managing a resource, which misses the
point, as far as I’m concerned. I always focus on workforce success. Puts
a different spin on things and shifts the emphasis to ‘beyond pawns’

Sylvia - I agree about HR.
I add "face time"

I just got a memo that reminded me of another thing I hate - desks that are more intelligent that their owners. As in, "from the desk of..."

Yes face time is awful. As opposed to what? Butt time?

I have an "executiv" diary - which has a much better memory than I do :)

Good comments John.

"clearly" and its forebear "obviously".. Only stated when the speaker knows their listener missed something

Or because the speaker isn’t really sure of her facts!

Hey Jim, that article should have been titled "11-business-cliches..." because "At the end of the day ..."

There are so many wonderful posts on this blog, someone once suggested compiling a dictionary. I endorse that. It's not often I actually look at every entry on a blog. This is one of them.

: I want to make sure I clearly understand. I think I heard you say: Let's empower a though-leader to message everyone in this group in order to compile a list and inbox us all with the results that we can utilize to improve our operations so at the end of the day we're all leading leaner high performance organizations. And if we post the results, they'll be Googled and the ENTIRE WORLD will benefit from our efforts!

Excellent, Nils. You have passed the test and are now an accredited member
of the Institute of Bumph. Love it.

But, "at the end of the day" we should "circle back" "offline" to see if we can "take it to the next level". I'll have "my people" call you.

Lynn Scott (PCC) I hate things spelt the American way when we're in the UK... (programme/program... centre/center.)

Me too, re US versus Brit spelling, even though I’m in Canada (was born and
raised in England though)
One thing I really don’t get is the use of ‘wholistic’ in North America.
If ‘hole’ means hole in the ground, and ‘whole’ means complete and full,
then why holistic instead of wholistic?

Headwind. Also, baseball and football terminology which only work in an American but not in a cross-cultural setting.

Yup! But I guess I’m guilty of that as I use Brit sports terms from
cricket and stuff that confuse my North American colleagues. And I also
say things “it’s a doddle” to mean it’s easy and simple.

Geez, George. How is your team going to put some points on the board with THAT attitude?

Lynn Scott (PCC) Coaches overuse the term 'achieve your potential'. It ves me nuts (sorry, is that a Brit-ism?!)

No. Going nuts is not culture specific

The use and overuse of "absolutely!"

The overuse of certain words is "AMAZING"!

Follow Jack (John)
Jack (John) Kimbell, CHE, Absolutely amazing... Sorry, I could not resist. :o)
How about this - the overuse of acronyms such as HCAHPS, CMS, VBP, the list goes on and on...

the phrase "moving forward" is used far to much in Sydney!
Moving Forward i suggest that we remaove the phrase Moving Forward from our corporate office talk. :)

Absolutely agree James.
I also cringe when someone uses a word incorrectly while trying to impress.
Duplicitous - does not mean having a back-up :)

Then perhaps we need Hypo-charismatic?

computer-mediated leadership
'Virtuality Frenzy'
fully non-hierarchical, boundary-less

"Paradigm" and "5-year plan."

We've talked about why people use jargon but one thing we've overlooked is that in many regards, it works. It impresses enough people that the practice continues. It's (from both sides) shows they have the intended effect which is why they continue to be used.
So is jargon a minor nuisance that's fun to ridicule or is it something that needs to be tamped down via peer pressure or stricter measures? Just curious.

Jim: Good return to Earth on this topic. All kidding aside, I'm guilty of some of these crimes, but as a business communicator I'm always watchful for language that signals a superficial understanding of a complex topic. Sometimes when I hear the jargon, I start nibbling around the edges to see if there really IS a deeper understanding of the topic at hand. I suppose the liability lies right there: overuse of jargon becomes a red flag. It makes me wonder if the user can sincerely and comprehensively articulate a position.
This has been a good reminder to moderate our verbal and written short-hand.
Meanwhile, I really DID have fun with this thread!

We've all been guilty.
I find I'm more 'm writing because after a while, you start looking for some phrase or term that will grab a reader's attention (especially if you're doing copy for a webpage or some other marketing application where brevity is key and every word counts).
At least if you use a bit of jargon when giving a presentation, you can preface your remarks by saying "I can't stand this term but..."

How about non-verbal communication skills ?
if one more person pretends to "engage" me by cocking their head to the side with the old wide eyed "old testament prophet" stare to make me feel 'm delivering an earth shattering treatise on the future of mankind when I'm actually saying "some weather we're having"...........
You learn that behaviour on courses and it can be spotted at a hundered yards you just make yourself look patronizing.
Other examples include pressing the finger tips together , narrowing the eyes and nodding sagely. I'm afraid to do the meaningful eye narrowing because at my age it's one step away from dozing off

Norman - have we all started mimicking things we see "semi-talented" actors do to mask that they haven't yet mastered their craft?

I dis"banner year" or "low -hanging fruit". I've been in meetings with Asian manufactuers and people are throwing around these terms and the factory owners are scratching their heads.

Jim, you have raised an insightful philosophical question: "Is jargon a minor nuisance that's fun to ridicule or is it something that needs to be tamped down via peer pressure or stricter measures?" To which I would add, "Or, rightly understood and applied, can it serve a useful purpose?"
Plato reminds us of the importance of defining our terms; Wittgenstein made us aware of the importance of language both in interpreting and defining or creating the world in which we live and think and engage (his "Tractatus" and "Philosophical Investigations").
We have seen on this blog over the last 8 days how language can be fashioned, manipulated and "bastardized" to suit specific purposes. That's not all bad. I agree with the comment that jargon is - or at least can be - a form of "shorthand" for members of a specific, defined community. It can - and often does - become problematic when (a) the jargon acquires a life of its own which, , transgresses the boundaries of its natural context; and (b) when its meaning is assumed without further definition. When these two elements combine, rather than being an aid to communication it becomes not only a nuisance but an impediment to communication. It assumes communication where no true meeting of the minds exists.
But where the community is a closed system (as in a particular organization or business unit) in which the meaning of the term is clearly understood, or where the term (such as "outsourcing" or "downsizing" or any of dozens of other examples we have seen here over the last 8 days) migrates out into the wider culture with a clearly understood and widely accepted meaning, jargon can serve a useful purpose - both in interpreting and defining collective activity and purpose.

Well Jim, I work with politicians a lot and I have seen experts at pretending to be interested in my every word.
I also know that the body language of engagement is taught on courses.
Just go to a conference or networking event and stand back and watch its hilarious, they probably have a few standard phrases on hand too

Transformation and Root Cause

"Innovative" or "Innovation" It is so over used. Just because a company lists it as a strategic goal...dosen't make them innovative.

30,000 foot view, ROI (because it is rarely ever measurable in lines of business ), pow-wow, tiger-team, swim-lanes (when referring to business segmentation), incentivize, value-added, right-sizing..... I could go on, but I will save some for others...

So many good ones. If your not having fun here with these words - go find a a "happy pill"

Michael Kü "Standard process".
For some context, I am not against standards per se.
But then I saw this "standard" which increased project cost, duration and risk by over 1000% each - and was taken as "carved in stone".

" Brainstorming", " Root cause analysis", " Ops. review meetings"
" Buying into an idea" "Quality manuals", "Adherence to Quality programs'

Well Jim kudos to you for having put across an insightful question. Too frequent use of ' "Complete gamut" irks me. We could be more specific in our communication. Because my understanding of " Complete gamut" could be different than anybody else's !

"Complete Gamut". To my mind is nothing specific a person wants to communicate.

I shared your frustration but I found a tool called visible thread that can "detox" (!) all company marketing communications from tiresome phrases and risky language (in contracts) translating them into my own tailored lexicon (for contracts).. it does not stop external people still using them but we have pretty much stopped using silly phrases internally.....

Worse yet, "Complete gamut" is redundant.

I think I need to "Shout Out" somebody or something. Or is it Shoot Out, no, maybe Snoot Out, can it be ....... ?

' Come let's spend some quality time together ''s given is'nt it !

What a great topic. There are so many and they are all so bad. I think the more plainly we can say things the more we will get accomplished.

"Work-life balance"
I never understood how organizations support this philosophy. Good to say but not in practice. Especially in today's environment employees are getting burnt and what family "life" do they have after 12+ hours of "work".

"Mitigating disconnects"

"Just trust me and you'll be okay" or "Don't worry about that, it's none of your concern"
Explicit untruths used to control others behaviors

"Ring fence"

How about using phrases such as "Lets not boil the Ocean" or " Lets not solve world's hunger" while refering to things that simply need not be focused at ?

:What is the method in the madness"...... can't guys say "can you please explain I really have'nt understood "

Guilty on that one Tapas.

The use of "runway" when explaining to someone what the future holds..."You didn't get the promotion because you just don't have a long enough runway."

Unfortunately, "runway" is the euphemism for "we think you are too old to invest in". Because they can't say you are too old.

I agree. Such a shame too. When the wise leave, only the fools remain!

The use of technical terms in non-technical conversation really gets to me. "I don't have the bandwidth so I'll ping Johnson. Let's take this offline and we'll interface during lunch ".

Steve z, I.S.P., ITCP, My favorite are "Open the Kimono", "Vertical" and "Punt" :)

Okay. I don't think anyone has mentioned these.
"Let me be honest with you." What have you been up until now?
It ves me nuts when people use modifiers on words that don't need them , "really unique." It is either unique, one of a kind, or it is not. What does "really unique" actually mean?

" at the end of the day"

Dana Mullarkey, COP, CSSBB, Saying, "right" at the end of sentences when you aren't really asking a question.

Dana Mullarkey, COP, CSSBB, At the end of the day.

here's another - "having said that"

Anything that ends in 'ize'. I am imaginizing myself getting annoyized every time some one wants to strategize, or commercialize a visualized CRM or ERP plan.
Oh yeah, add acronyms to the list.

Someone please tell when it's ever better to say 'utilize' instead of 'use.' Seems


Is it anything -Mash? :)

Christian Nassif, "Seamless Transition" - Changes are never seamless. They are tumultuous. This is an oxymoron.
"Let's take this offline" - Should mean "Let's talk about this later." Really means "Don't bring this up again" or "Stop hijacking my meeting!"

"Moving forward", inserted randomly in every conversation, meeting or email. Moving forward on what? To where?

Oh, and that old favorite " on the same page" its

Vertical Startup is a new one that is quickly getting overused

Jerry Rice CPA(inactive) The term "no brainer". Nothing in business or life is something that can be done without some aforethought. The term is somewhat insulting to the receiver of the message.

Let's work in a "symbiotic relationship"

Let's take it Offline.

I'm tired of "vice president" titles....everyone, including the local bank manager's assistant is a "VP" of something. The intended meaning of the term has been totally degraded.

At the end of the day (we go home)
Each and every one of you (as opposed to all of you?)
Touch base (do you converse with the first baseman about projects and solutions?)


"ving" anything, such as ving Production, ving Business Value, ving Techology Solutions.... There's no steering wheel on any of them.

Steve Motenko, I know this thread is largely for fun, and I fear I'm about to be a bit harrrumphy, but here goes:
Jargon is simply in the mind of the beholder. Language has one purpose: to convey meaning. How well the meaning is conveyed depends on two things: how the speaker says it, and how the listener hears it. If I have an “issue” with a word, that “issue” will be louder in my mind than the word itself. So if I think the word “conversate” is so incredibly stupid as to require strangling the speaker, I probably won’t hear the word the way the speaker intended it.
So the test for all these words is simply this: in the mind of the person listening, do they hold the meaning the speaker intended? No right or wrong and no rocket science to it. If “low-hanging fruit” conjures an image in my mind of a quick reward easily achieved or a quick task easily accomplished, then that word works for me. If that term makes me want to puke my guts out, then it's jargon.

Low hanging fruit

Steve, none of this jargon actually causes me to wretch. However, many of these phrases and bits of jargon are used instead of meaningful English, often with a partial understanding of the substance of the topic being reviewed. And even worse, the users of many of these expressions use them as a signal that the issue is not open for further investigation. In other words, they are often used to inhibit discussion which might show the speaker is partially informed and does not care to be further informed.

Or low hangers, which is much worse, IMHO.


Paradigm...... it ves me crazy

Follow Charles (Charlie)
Charles (Charlie) Let's 'tee" this up.....

I'm with Michael ... "Outside the box."
Then there's "Let me be honest." So does that mean they weren't being honest earlier when they gave another fact or made another point without that disclaimer? :)

How about" lets get my people to call your people and do lunch" to 1980?s maybe:)

"Net-Net" First time my boss said this I wanted to slap him.

I have been keeping track, and so far I have heard about 95% of the jargon in the last year. And even worse, I have used about 25% of it myself. My punishment is no Scotch for the week...

@Andy. Yep, we all fall into that in one way or another. I guess deep down, we all have a need to be "cool" instead of "concise". I need to determine an appropriate punishment for myself. Best Regards.

I have seen the "paradigm shift" and "culture change" overused. People do not even pay attention to "stakeholders" any more it so overused. I do not "that is not feasible right now", that just means "I am too busy to do that".

"Right-Sizing"... how about we just call a spade a spade here...

all hands meeting!!
"Lets take a whole department out of action for the afternoon... nice"

all hands meeting!!
"Lets take a whole department out of action for the afternoon... nice"

Follow George & Louise
George & On boarding and in boarding
and second Tony Mannion's Bandwidth

Mark - "stakeholders"? Something to do with vampires? :)

I have to say "Brand" - I love it and loath the over use of it.

The "demographic" - used constantly instead of "the market" "the target market" usually by folk who have a minimal idea of marketing.

"Street Smart", " Poaching talents" :)

"Solutions" as in "we sell environmental solutions". Silly me, I thought you sold mops, brooms and cleaning supplies.

Great example, Christopher.
Marketing has its own language indeed.

"common sense". In my experience, there is no such thing in business.

I'd make additional comments on this thread but I'll be "out of pocket" for most of the day.
I'm really, really small....

Follow Melania (Lani)
Melania (Lani) How about the "team" members that say "I don't disagree with that but...." doesn't that mean you agree?

As soon as someone uses the word ‘but’, it means the previous clause has no
meaning. I , but… That is a good idea, but…

Please end this discussion!!! its filling up my inbox!!!- i have unfollowed and unsubscribed but it keeps coming!!! NOT FUN ANY MORE!


Craig - It is not going to happen and its not all about you - Anyway, try clicking unfollow above; and unclicking the note saying send me an email... etc. Go to LinkedIn and get some help if there is a continuing problem for you.

Boil the Ocean
Product Champion
Circle Back
Connect the dots -

Any title with people in it, such as Vice President of People

How about, without a pause, "could you do this for me? That'll be great!"

"To be honest..." So you mean that before this statement, there is a high 't being honest?


one of my co-workers just used the phrase "Networking Meetup"....
Good Lord...

Maybe it’s the Lord he/she plans to meet! Or is it another name for a
prayer meeting?

"As per" ves me nuts! it's either as or per. As per is akin to saying as as or per per.

Great topic! Here are two of my favorites from my CoachNet Strategy Letter article, "Business Buzzword Bargain Basement and Cliche "State-of-the-art": what state? what art?
"Paradigm shift": do we mean significant change? Have you noticed how much longer a paradigm shift takes?

the use of "around" in sentences "We had a discussion around this important topic last week." That tells me that nothing was resolved and they will meet again and again.

Roger Kahlon, "Let's be smart about this..." Does anyone ever try to be dumb?

Linda Tcimpidis, MBA, Widget... I really hate widget... Bandwidth, synergy and paradigm are also high on my list! Thanks for this 'fun' exercise....

Great thread Brian! A few words that really make me roll my eyes are:
- "sustainable" solutions (as if decision makers really care about the period after their next bonus is locked in)
- "alignment" (the last time that happened was for the wheels on my car!)

Simple, any and all of them. When did we stop speaking the english language.


Bandwidth, Leverage, “I’m reaching Out” “There is no I in Team” “coordinate resource” actually just “resource” what happened to “people”


I hate the ‘no I in team’ one as well, and usually retort “yes, but there
is a ‘me’ and an ‘am’”

Yes I once said that in a consulting meeting to my manger who was using the statement "There is no I in" etc etc. I got fired, I took them to court, he got fired, they offered me my job back, I said No there is No I in your team ;-)

Great story, Alistair! And how's the Isle of Wight ?- spent a good few happy hours there as a child (was born and raised in Hove).
And Mickey - don't ask Brits about when we stopped speaking the English language - we might start yattering on about when the spelling got corrupted! :)

IOW all good, probably not changed since you where a small person, but only been here 9 years, still in hidding from above company.

"Perks"...we can't pay you much but the Christmas hams are great.

Good to hear IOW is it’s a gorgeous place! Great
place to hide, for sure.


Now that one I when used properly. There isn’t really a good
alternative that speaks not only to the notion of things being together,
but of the common integrity of those things. At least, not that I’ve

our "learnings" from the project were....

Yes! Those remote and impersonal learnings. Nothing the 'WE learned"

Patently when it’s just someone’s opinion

At the end of the day it has to be: "At the End of the Day"

I didn't see "touch base"....that one always irks me...what every happed to "let's talk", or "hey, I don't have time at the moment, but we need to talk soon"?

Then you better consider dialoguing when you have some quality time to
reach out to someone. Or something


Better than B2B

"beauty parade"
dog and pony show

"spruik" Do you have that one in the US?

Never heard of it in Canada. Sounds
had too many nks!

"Well we are where we are"
Means we are over budget and the project has not gone well, but i'm not going to point any fingers as its is a public sector project, and dont worry no one is to blame.

that one made me laugh out loud, Alistair. So true...

"Lets socialize the idea..." and please pass the olives.

How bout "I'm reaching out to you" ? Sounds kinda creepy to me...

Performance Coaching



Follow Marvin "Coach"
Marvin "Coach" I still don't get the "Chief Evangelist" thing! Can any of you help?

It’s the job a company creates when they have nothing solid to sell. To
the customer, to the employee. At least, that’s my take!

'Outside the box" and "bandwidth" are my two top ones that creep me out. You know that nothing good is gonna come out when someone uses these two words.

Oh yeah, here is another one : "Coaching"

Also in the past few years and I’m not sure if this is just a UK thing but our Politicians have also been inventing new phrases and terms.
I assume this is to no more than sound positive over a bad situation but the two phrases I hear over and over are:-
“The current situation is one of negative growth” = Means the economy is contracting
“What we have to do is work with our current Inactive Workforce” = Means we have to reduce unemployment.

"Prioritize"(no such word)," at the end of the day"( it is night) "challenges", "issues"( are problems)......" Thanks so much" that more or less than " thanks a lot??......other such mindless terms..........

New but I'm already tired of it..."the cloud", "cloud computing", "data in the cloud", "cloud data center", "get off of my cloud" (oops, that was the Stones in 1967).

" a Service" as in Computing as a Service (CaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS), "Disaster Recovery as a Service (aS), Service as a Service...oK we're getting a little carried away with this service thing, aren't we?
Oh, and how about "we're committed to excellent customer service." Yeh right, the call center is in Manilla, routed through Banglore and you have to work your way through the six step voice recording tree to actually talk to a live Manilla that is.

Love it! And thr Stones. But yes - the cloud always makes me think
we're upside down and flying blind without realizing it
Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless handheld

Good analogy, and yes, most people are.

"I will see you in Court".......said one lawyer to the
other........right!! No one showed up ..........go figure........
Sent wirelessly from my BlackBerry device on the Bell network.
Envoyé sans fil par mon terminal mobile BlackBerry sur le réseau de Bell.

Yes, my dad not being the technical type said emmm clould looked out of the window and said if it is a clear day does that mean you cant access your email.
"It's in the cloud" - No its in a data centre on a server

Check out yesterday's (8/28/12) Dilbert cartoon, Scott Adams must be following this thread!

BYOD as in bring your own data. We're having a buffet but it's a BYOB afair. I mean BYOD. Can you nk it?.

ll Down

I quite , With out it I'll never be able to explain CRM reports again ;-)

BHAG. That whole concept is nonsense and violates every strategic planning principles. It gets more companies into trouble.

"Value Proposition", "Proactive" (how can you be more active than active?)

Step up to the plate..

My company executives started using "T2T" to describe meetings that are "top level-to-top level"---and if you're not a VP from HQ you aren't welcome. They also resuscitated "BHAG" this year, which is generally applied to goals which the data clearly shows cannot be attained.

Well 'at the end of the day' I can't 'get on board' any 'associates' who still use 'think outside the box' (as mentioned above) because 'the bottom line is' 'it's not rocket science.'
I actually say it's not rocket surgery....

For those of you not experienced with "Big Hairy Audacious Goals" (BHAGs), it is the lazy senior manager's last resort for exhorting a team to commit to an impossibility, as Bruce Parkhurst explained. Rather than think, plan and decide based on data, it allows the senior manager to lay a "BHAG egg" on the team and walk away, somewhat self-satisfied.

The upside to this whole discussion is that we have barely scratched the surface and cannot begin to reach even the low hanging fruit. From a high Level overview, let’s says 30,000 feet, the cloud would suggest I am thinking outside the box on a strategy to grow the business. But, as we ll down, this may be blue sky thinking, but, without some face time, dialog and time to connect, I am afraid we do not have the bandwidth we were tasked with to provide a laser focus and make this a win-win strategy. So, since our wheelhouse is nowhere near this swim lane, I digress to a holistic approach to the functionality of my own paradigm shift, which calls for a come to Jesus meeting, preferably prior to onboarding.
Would anyone ? Please contact your nearest stakeholder or just suck it up for the team or you will be learning the term offboarding soon. So, it’s business as usual.

Gee, I got a letter ? Spookey!

culture fit

@Tom, I'll run that up the flag poll and see who salutes.

laser focus - makes me almost laugh out loud
SME- Subject Matter Expert -- Ugh

......Whoever answered "culture fit" shld run for office ( and not
with Romney.)........
Sent wirelessly from my BlackBerry device on the Bell network.
Envoyé sans fil par mon terminal mobile BlackBerry sur le réseau de Bell.

"accretive" as in accretive sales
- def. ac·cre·tion (-kr sh n) n. 1). Growth or increase in size by gradual external addition, fusion, or inclusionl; 2) Something contributing to such growth or increase ...3) usually achieved by scraping your knuckles on the sidewalk while making customer calls on the road.

"we need to take it to the next level"

Challenge the person who spews this vague business jargon by asking them - what does that (statement) mean to you? That will end it.

delusional optimism

Scott - Hard to do if its the boss.

A friend of mine, when an intern at a sheet metal forming company (years ago) used the term "down time"
The boss asked him what it meant and he said it was the amount of time it took to make a piece of downpipe (pipe from roof gutter down to in).
Problem was his boss then used this term in that way. End of internship LOL


What fun this has been ‘ROFL’ ….IMHO ‘actually’ ‘net net’ this has built a ‘seamless interface’ between ‘what is and what should be’; a ‘sparkling intercourse’ amongst an ‘engaged community’ of ‘stakeholders’ ‘committed’ to ‘reaching out’ to the intellectually ‘less privileged’ with a ‘discourse’ on how best to utilize the resources ‘at your disposal’ to ‘espouse’ the cause of ‘crystal clear’ communication and ‘superior comprehension’, and as a result provide an ‘end-to-end solution’. Wish we were all as articulate in our ‘war rooms’. BTW PFA a copy of my son’s thesaurus …. And for any further ‘clarifications’ have ‘your office call mine’!

That sounds “let’s do lunch” get some “face time” and see the “whites of each other’s eyes” we will need to “coordinate bandwidth” and “ll down” on the requirements to come up with a “strategic plan for execution”.
Once we are done we can “leverage” the “think tank reports” and then “scale our response” to “meet demand” and “market expectation”
We should “socialise” the concept on line, but “limit exposure” until we are ready “to go to market” the “up side to this“ is that we will have created limited “brand awareness” that should “fill a defined gap in this space”
“Sound Good”

Negative profit. Why not just call it a loss?

Touche! (Alistair and Ashim). Now "I see the light"!

Game changer - I met so many senior managers who thought that simply by asking for one they were getting the whole organisation focused on delivering it.
Going forward - this has spread from business to everyday life. I know people who use it 10 times in the space of a minute

While I am a fan of understanding "strategy" or perhaps because of that - I dis-use and misuse of the term.
Especially noticeable when it is interchanged each few sentences with "tactics"

Blue sky.
"Blue sky, shining on me
Nothing but blue sky do I see.."

Re: Strategy...everyone today is a "strategic thinker". Not sure what that means but since everyone is, it can't be good.

Oh, I don’t know. Even my cat plots strategy when an innocent and
oblivious chickadee sits happily on the feeder…the cat knows from
experience that simply leaping on the balcony surround won’t work, and
develops strategies that every now and then has me either rescuing or
cleaning up the remains of said chickadee.

That's a good one. :-) But your cat, un, actually has a specific goal.

Another thing I hate...smiley faces

Yes, and it’s goal is usually in opposition to the senior leader’s goal!

Oh, there are so many: "at the end of the day", "let's do a deep dive", "let's circle back and get grounded".

Yes, that last one sounds !
“Don’t get in the weeds” is another one I hate.


Deep diving

"Everybody can be replaced."
"You know, there is a queue of people looking for your job".
"If you don't , go home."

The most overused cliche. Most folk who use it have no real idea what it actually means. It is not actually the same as focused, or dedicated.

Adina - such folk probably miss the days when they could carry a whip.

Christoper you hate smiley faces??

Brian: Actuallly, it's not smiley faces so much but the overuse of them (and other jargon). In my mind, what starts out as a relatively interesting metaphor or symbol, becomes jargon when it's overused. Many of the phrases cited in this thread became jargon because of overuse. Another thing I've grown tired of, though it's not jargon, are those stupid posters of people climbing mountains or surfing or whatever with "Challenge" or "Succeed" or "Achievement" written on them. Enough already. However, I am not, as I have been accused of, a curmugeon. :-)

Ha-ha-ha. Brian, come on over to South-Eastern Europe and your ears will fill with joy! :)

"CMO Marketing Ninja"

Adina - my ears and my eyes.

You are right Christopher.
But I have always :)

"Disconnect" as in there's a "disconnect" here. ZAP! Just admit you don't understand what's going on.

Hatchet man
S/B Hatchet person?

Another mis-use of term VP, this from an actual job description:
"The VP of Sales will report directly to the Director of Sales who works with a Business Development Specialist who directly assists the Account Manager with all sales."
So what does the organization chart look ?

Um…chart????? Sounds more ’s breakfast, after the
dog reshares the breakfast.

"It is what it is"

actually, I quite "It is what it is". I have a co-worker who goes nuts when she hears me say it... figures it's a lazy way of thinking but I explained that unless you recognize and accept situations for what they are, you will never be able to change them. Maybe I've been using the phrase wrong.
... changing courses, it use to ve me nuts when people ask about "The package" when interviewing for a job. "What's the package look ?" I especially had a hard time when I would listen to recruiters ask sales managers how big their package was.

"It is what it is" is not new business speak. Nor is it "lazy thinking". It derives from the 5th Century B.C. Greek philosopher Parmenides. His thesis was that things are what they are. It's one of my favorite lines for people who refuse to accept reality as it is. It's a more polite way of saying "Get over it!"

Leanne Hoagland- In rereading the many unfavorites, it appears there is a specific sensitivity to certain phrases based upon our own experiences.. Covey stated begin with the end in mind if my philosophy knowledge is correct that can also be traced back to several Greek philosophers. What is new today or yesterday is for the most part very old.

Using the business jargon statement "THE CLOUD." When I ask the person who said it
"what does that mean to you" most look at me with a blank stare. They have no idea what it really means,. it just sounds cool and trendy to them.

Regarding "it is what it is", I use the phrase too and 's simplicity. But when it's over-used it becomes a problem - or "jargon". Maybe beauty (or jargon) is in the eye of the beholder. that term also jargon? Whew, this is getting confusing!

Re: the CLOUD, yes there are many people today who are in the cloud.

No doubt Parmenides had much deeper thoughts about what he meant by the
phrase. I find many people today see it as an excuse to do nothing about a
situation. And that’s a theme that runs through these posts the words
and phrases themselves are fine, it’s the inanity of their use that galls.

Yes the only thing being CLOUD based is their heads, I'm sure a teacher once said to me "Dickinson get you head out of the CLOUD's" but that is a long time ago

Just looked up jargon in OED... late Middle English (originally in the
sense 'twittering, chattering', later 'gibberish')
So there’s the problem it’s all those birds twittering in the cloud.
For me, jargon makes me think all the whisky is nk.

I wish I had time to comment on that but I have to get back to the grind.

So its all Twitter's fault then, glad we sorted that out - Phew

Then your coffee will be gone, too...

How could you people leave out the word "transparency?" I feel

I thought that "transparency" was too obvious.
ba dum bum ching!
Thank you, I'm here all week. Try the Roast beef.

We wanted to be transparent

"Impacting the global economy to grow your business." - Whatever happened to "effect/effecting"!??
"reference our (insert object, web site, documents, etc.)" - I'm happy to refer to your (whatever) but cannot reference it/them.

Leanne Hoagland- I am still attempting to learn when did impact the noun become a verb or impacted an adjective became a verb.
Anytime someone in a business conversation uses this non-word of "irregardless" I literally cringe instead. Must be all those years of English coming back to haunt me.

I too hate "impacting" things, and I think a lot of it had to do with all the management consultancy buzz-speak (a bit 's Nuspeak - "1984") that grew up in an attempt to befuddle us with their non-cleverness.
"Impact" is supposed to sound more aggressively matic and bolder than "effect", especially when trying to convince people in an increasingly dumbed-down world that you know what you're talking about and want to motivate them, eg., "Environmental Impact Studies" were where I first began to hear this nonsense.
Now I've had time to think about it I really hate people who want to "inform the process" (I now believe "the process" are a secret government agency with informants spying on us all the time).
In a literal-minded sense "transparency" confuses me. If it's "transparent" you can see though it and if you can see though everything then doesn't that make it invisible?

Leanne I’m in agreement, but here’s what Oxford Dictionaries has to say:
The phrasal verb impact on, as in when produce is lost, it always impacts
on the bottom line, has been in the language since the 1960s. Many people
disapprove of it, saying that make an impact on or other equivalent
wordings should be used instead. This may be partly because, in general,
new formations of verbs from nouns (as in the case of impact, action, and
task) are regarded as somehow inferior; in addition, since the verbal use
of impact is associated with business and commercial writing, it has the
unenviable status of ‘jargon’, which makes it doubly dis
I suppose we have to accept that language grows and changes just
people do. But I remember that ruler in Mrs. Snook’s hand and the
resulting thin bruise on my hand when I used a noun as a verb. (And yes,
her name really was Mrs. Snook.)

At the end of the day...

Well, rose-coloured glasses are transparent, but not invisible. Except to
the wearer, perhaps.

Well said Sylvia - a number of times.
"Impacted" does annoy a lot of folk though.

Replacing "firing staff" with "streamlining the workforce"

"Below the line"

In IT we used to speak of an upgrade as "transparent to the user". It is good to remember that a spinning propellor blade is "transparent" which is sometimes how our users felt.

In the executive suite we used to keep 2 sets of books. So "transparency" was alway an issue.

RE: nounverbs: if you remember a company called Google (a noun), the company was used by so many people to find things on the internet that they coined the term "google" it (a verb). Thus, "google" is now a nounverb (I'm trying to start my own jargon here).

But I do
various dogs, always inquisitive. Another nounverb (, at
least until it gets overused) is source. We don’t find things any more, we
source them. Very saucy.

That's a good one. And it's worse when they say "strategic sourcing". What does that mean?

"At the end of the day"...

That you’re doubly unknowing as to what you’re talking about

Tony O' Hi Sylvia,
A belated comment from me here, is the test for "Accredited Member of the Institution of Bumf" very difficult ??, maybe if he kindly so disposed, Nils might enlighten us, share his study notes with us all ( after all Nils passed, got 93% no less, I hear on the side ?, although he too modest to let such out of the bag). Our Brian, might even take time out of his busy life ( his wife, as all wives to poor hubbies, needs give permission of course) to study for the "sought after by all in business life" this qualification as well, why not ??, he would then be a real shining example to us all, Sylvia.
Nice day all, wherever you are in this big wide world..

Am in Canada

I've got to go with "synergy". It is a perfectly good and positive word...with definitions, such as "the interaction of elements that when combined produce a total effect that is greater than the sum of the individual elements, contributions, etc.; synergism." However, it is often corrupted these days to mean organizational downsizing...I have banned it from my vocabulary.

I'm Authentic, You're Authentic.... We're all so Authentic! We reek of Authenticity, and when we get to Authenticising the management team, I pick up my bat and ball and go home....

And since when and why have managers in the US started "reaching out" and having "shout outs"...? Noticed it everywhere on a visit 2-3 years ago. Sounds 're all in a lifeboat in the fog....... One exec said to me "I'll reach out to you later about xyz". I said, "Touch me and I'll deck you!". It was a joke. He didn't get it.....

The Wonder of the age of warring against Iraq, when everyone started shouting they had "a roadmap".
Shame they can't read it.
Bit , leading you up all the wrong paths.

Anyway back to "Google It" for a moment
My 6 year old came home from school around easter time and said "Daddy what is crucifiction", I UMMED and then AARRED and before I could answer she said "Dont worry Daddy I will Google it" I was impressed with the self an initiative until a few moments later she came back into the room and said "Daddy what is Google"

Leanne Hoagland- Thanks to all for sharing their thoughts on impact as a verb. I tried replying privately but LI refused that action.

Christopher's "strategic sourcing" reminded me of a new one I came across recently. I was asked to speak at a "Relational Outsourcing" conference in Toronto in June. No one there understood what it means... (I : wouldn't it be marvelous to "outsource" our "relationships" from time to time... or even "insource" one or two on lonely nights?!)

A business collegue explained "strategic sourcing" to me last night. "Strategic Sourceing - getting as much as you can from your vendors up front and then waiting as long as you can to pay them." It's called vendor financing for your invetory.

An oldie but goodie I never "warm fuzzy" or "I want you to give 110% on this one" I always give my best what ever I'm doing. I don't need to be told.

"Jargon Monoxide" This is a good one. William C. Taylor, writing in Inc. magazine:
"Pointing to recent pieces in Wired and the Wall Street Journal for support, (William) Taylor suggests that innovation has become "yet another consultant-ven management technique, one more piece of language in what… Polly LaBarre calls the 'jargon monoxide' that defines so much of business life."

Trickle down?
Trickle up?
Why only a trickle?

I do
Keep up the good work!

Theodore - Can we combine warm and fuzzy with either or both of the trickles do you think?

Me too, and I shall happily steal that one. I can see such a use for it in
meetings, when someone is putting everyone to sleep. “will you stop
talking jargon monoxide please!”

I’m not sure I want to be around someone who’s having a warm trickle! Or a
fuzzy one either, for that matter.

The acronyms where I work are getting to me - similar to "industry" acronyms, but not the same. So, there is lots of confusion with newer people and we waste a lot of time trying to figure out what is really meant.

A recent survey by the Executive Board indicates that almost 75% of meetings are subject to jargon monoxide attacks. The recommendation to survive such an attack is to hold your nose and get out of the meeting room as fast as you can. However, the Army is investigating the possibility of creating jargon monoxide masks, but it's a top secret project.

Re: Jargon Monodixe.
First has anyone "informed the process" about these attacks? I'm sure "The Process" will want to know these things.
Secondly, "monoxide" might appear dangerous, but wait until you get a whiff of "jargon dioxide" = jargon squared to suffocate you all.
Happy weekend.

Don't forget that there is the potential for "climate change" in the office when too much of either is released into the boarom. It will take years to rid the corporate "environment" of such substances and it could become a serious threat to bulls and bears..
(You know, this whole side discussions could permutate on us.)

"Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO)" also "Macro" and "Micro". This example is from another actual job description on another Linkedin Group site:
You will: "Create the Business Case for RPO (Recruitment Process Outsourcing); learn the macro and micro trends leading to RPO for the organization; define RPO for the business; ask question to prepare the organization for RPO; determine the financial and operational benefits; and ensure RPO partnership success.
Run that by me again?

All businesses and industries have a culture. Cultures have unique language elements. Learn them even if thy irk you. Just as you wouldn't speak to a 4-year-old with college-level vocabulary, so too you should adopt and use words that the people you're trying to communicate with understand.

Brian, this has been fun to follow! From a quick scan, "at the end of the day" appears to be a crowd favorite. Folks have certainly shown an ability to "add some color" to this "theme" and have "shifted the paradigm" in the process.

Thats certainly true Bob and we all know that and agree with you.
What are the words that irk you?

I have to admit that the use of "marketing" irks me most often. Much as it has been central to what I have done.
Its just that even after some 50 years, its still poorly understood by so many.

Thanks William

Bob, you are entirely correct, of course, about linguistic cultural norms within businesses and industries (including business or industry-specific jargon). Adopting this jargon is often a practical, even necessary, strategy to facilitate communication. But does it really?
I recall some years ago sitting in a management meeting where the CEO of the company for which I was General Counsel was speaking to his management team about "strategic management". His presentation contained so much jargon it was evident from the blank stares and body language around the room that he had left every one of them at the starting gate. There was no effective communication. They really had no idea what he was trying to say (and he was a very brilliant, effective expert in his field).
At one point I interrupted him and asked if we could canvass the room just to ensure we all understood what he meant by "strategic management" in the particular context in which he was using it. He insisted that "everybody knows what strategic management" means. The management team was so intimidated by him that not one of them dared contradict him or say anything that might make them look uninformed.
That is the problem with jargon, even within specific businesses (the problem is compounded as it leaches out into the broader industry and across industries). Until the term enters the lexicon (, for example, the now common verb form of the noun "google", as in "to google"), it remains a highly malleable, equivocal, ambiguous term which, far from enabling communication, merely creates the illusion of it.

As someone who has studied systems thinking, I have no problem, with ‘synergy’ or ‘holistic’ as long as both are used in the correct context. Too often they are not.

But, Keith why is holistic spelled without a ‘w’? I’ve never understood
it. We have the whole amount but a holistic view, and we have a hole in
the ground. Wouldn’t it make more sense to spell it wholistic?

The one that ves me nuts is " a leading provider of..."
Who the hell is every little rinky--dinky company leading (except themselves?)
With so many leaders who is being led?
Trash talk.

Us. By the nose.

Leanne Hoagland- Just imagine how much money all those marketing firms made with many of these perceived much dis?

Tony O' Hi Leanne,
In mining life, on the SA mines, any jargon goes, is a tad rough by half a few kms under ground, call a spade a spade, as long as brings the bucks in at end of day.

Dan - and if they have a Mission Statement, they all read the same - about 'customers being our number one priority'

Tony. In Australia it is more "bl**dy shovel" (modified for our US readers :) )

Flattening the pyramid
Kill ratio

I will try to answer your question. Sylvia. Apparently the word holistic has Greek origins, which of course does not explain why it has become a key term in systems thinking, or more to the point why it does not include a ‘w’. Most ’s used Holistic, and the noun Holism, to distinguish how they perceive the whole of something, from the conventional perspectice. In systems thinking the term Holistic means more than just recognising or seeing the whole of something. It is about understanding how the parts of a whole operate. Seeing how the parts are connected in a particular way and their relationship to each other to understand how they produce more than their sum.. So Holistic is not another name for the whole, but a way of seeing and understanding how the whole works. .
Maybe a more learned and articulate systems thinker will be able to give a more precise answer, however the point is the term is not jargon, it has a meaning different from the common definition of the word ‘whole’. So its different spelling clearly signifies when something is being seen from the perspective of systems thinking and not as a conventional way.
Sadly the term is often used by people who do not understand this difference, so

Indeed language is a funny thing. Kind of , I guess. Here’s
what OED says of holism:
· the theory that parts of a whole are in intimate interconnection, such
that they cannot exist independently of the whole, or cannot be understood
without reference to the whole, which is thus regarded as greater than the
sum of its parts. Holism is often applied to mental states, language, and
ecology. The opposite of atomism.
· Medicine the treating of the whole person, taking into account mental
and social factors, rather than just the symptoms of a disease.
ed ‘wholes’ (bodies or organisms) from the ordered grouping of units
Smuts wrote of holism in his 1926 book, Holism and Evolution. Kind of
ironic that he believed in white supremacy and denied the majority of South
Africans participation in the democratic process!
It still doesn’t explain why the ‘w’ got pped, or more to the point,
added, in British English, but this, also from OED, on the origin of
‘whole’ might:
Old English hal, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch heel and German heil,
also to hail2. The spelling with wh- (reflecting a dialect pronunciation
with w-) first appeared in the 15th century
So my learning for the day is the word ‘atomism’ in the above definition of
holism. Now I can introduce a new jargon word. “You’re problem, boss, is
that you are atomistic!”



Mathlete. Just came across that one.

Hack - a worker without distinction
Hack - the computer variety

Good one Sylvia

Management by exception

Having spent several days rolling on the floor with laughter I just remembered one of my long time favourites.....
are you sure.....?
"Grow your business"
or any form of "grow".
Because growth is the product of a process.
You don't grow trees, they grow on their own, you just harvest/crop/farm them.
So what the XXXX does "grow" mean?
You cannot "grow" your business, you must DO something that results in growth,
It's late, I need to lie down now, have a nice night. :-)

What do you all think of "gamification"? Jargon or useful approach? There a lot of that going around, and it might be contageous.

Sounds really bad. As in "I've got a gammy leg". Aka I've
experienced some gamification in my lower left appendage".
Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless handheld

"Organic growth"
It's not about the money"
"I've got your back"

Tony O' Brian,
I have been on business to many countries in this world, Australia included. You have some lovely "Sheilas" in mining there, in mining they are indeed quite something apart from good lookers and there are the ever so bright "Sheila"academic ladies as well in mining. I ( very), have close family friends there., "B----y" shovel or not.
In a way this thread you started Brian has been good, entertaining too for many, has brought out the human side of many on this site, we all get to know each other better in life, you yourself, Sylvia and many more.
Go well all you good folks on this site.

Elliot - am in full agreement on organic. Especially in grocery stores, where you see big signs stuck in the piles of fruit, saying "ORGANIC!!!". So the fruit in the next piles along are inorganic.
My other grocery store favourite, which isn't jargon but is funny - now remember, I live in Canada and used to live in northern Canada at that. And there would be signs stuck in the banana pile that said "Imported". Ya guess?
And Tony - yes, this is great fun. I love words and puns (the Brit in me).
Here's one more - may be a repeat. "too far down in the weeds"

Tony O' Hi Sylvia,
I have been to Canada as well , international conferences etc, but also have immediate family there too I visit, ( Vancouver area) first cousins, we phone each other often, are all on face book together too, is nice to see the marriages, the new little babies in family born , photos of the little kiddies exciting first day on the way to school all kitted out, new school bag too. I hope you , and keeping well in all things, Sylvia. I am a bit Brit, Sylvia, I was born in Paisley, near Glasgow, Scotland, "quite a few years ago" wife is a Glasgow "lass", is a kindly soul, says she decided to keep me, too old a model to trade in, second hand dealer gave her a rubbish trade in price, said I had too high a mileage on the clock, Sylvia.

Paisley is a lovely place Tony. I'm afraid I'm not so nice as your wife, though - I gave my husband away. To another Sylvia, funnily enough. We all get on - will be spending Christmas with them and all the kids. I was born and raised in Brighton and Hove respectively, although they are now one city. Was last there in March this year.

"super excited by leveraging the synergies we have to make a disruptive play" actually said to me with a straight face - I told him we should "run it up the flagpole with our ecosystem partners" needless to say the irony (sarcasm) was lost :)

People are still using "at the end of the day"....ugh.

The other one for me is when people give advice and say "If I were you I would do this" etc
But surly if they where me they would do what I just did

Good point, Alistair hadn’t thought of it ! But terrible
thing to say anyway.

Orientate! It isn't even a word! Aaaaagggghhhh!
And, for fun, we had a contest at a prior employer to see who could come up w/ a word and get others in the dept to use it in normal conversation. My contribution: Agreeance. Made for good laughs.

I am in agreeance

Yes! Always the accolades come too late for our masterful works!
I thought of another one - Circle Back. How about just saying "I'll call you later".

Don't forget the word of the year a couple years back, Stephen Colbert's "truthiness" . . .

Re Circle back - a former boss always added "around."
A particular pet peeve is both "touch base" and the even worse "touch bases." That said, I often set up touch base calls, because anything else I can think of is longer . . .

'Don't shoot the messenger' As if that was an option.

Hmm having been recently shot, I’m not sure of that…

"Flesh it out"

I don’t mind that so much as it has some real meaning, but so many people
say ‘flush it out’ when they mean put some solid meat on it…

" It is a challenge" means close to impossible and " take a buy in " means forcing some one to sacrifice his / depts targets.

Tony O' Old Irish saying ( still have family property/lands there) :
Hello Friday,
So glad you came, and I see you brought
your good friends Saturday and Sunday too.
If you see Monday,
Tell him not to Feckin rush.

"Killer" As in killer app.
Oh please

"Free" and then you learn it is not "quite" free at all. You have been suckered in.
Great start for the relationship.

Nerdpack - a pocketful of coloured pens apparently

Michael Deitsch Sr. [LION] When people say "The Bottom line is this....." it is so over used.

Norval Henry ,MPA/ viral means very bad&deadly What?or ooh so much

Tony O' Hi Paul,
No need call him Brian, I am sure the plain title Brian would do just fine. Brian did say it was to be just a bit of fun, Paul, let our hair down for once in our lives on Linkedin, in any case I got to know "lovely" Sylvia , others better as people (decent/ nice at that). I see you are from the great land of Canada, Paul, as said to Sylvia, I have many relatives there, been there, so must kindly wish you well in life, Paul ( hope you are good for a few more years yet at the sharp end). We all I think, as reasonable educated "boys and girls" on the site, have good time management, have the ability to keep all the balls in the air at one time, keep a spare in back pocket, if p one.
To use your phrase, good going, Paul, and hope you are good as said for many years to come, "young man", ----well you not that old looking yet in your photo !!

Good going Paul

Thank you Tony


"Going forward" aaagh!

"forward looking"


"On point" -- I have heard some not liking it.

It’s strange how things that are used in a sector p in to the generic business world, So "On Point" actually comes from Dance and if a routine is flawless it is known as "On Point" originally taken from ballet when dances moved on the point of their toes. You will see a lot of Talent shows
Sorry I have a 6 year old that dances Tap, Jazz, Hip Hop and does musical Theatre
and will refer to everything in her life as being "On Point"

Mike, I !

"Circle back" Makes me dizzy just thinking about it..

I agree Kimberley

Spear carrier

Teach granny to suck eggs.
Why would she do that??

Whatever happened to "encouraging" people?

I think the best one I have ever heard from a Sales Director in a Meeting, when reviewing monthly accounts was
"These numbers are up and down "
Not sure it's everyday business jargon, but we had to keep a straight face.

"Human resources"
I REALLY hate this, turning human beings into "resources"
I am NOT a number!
Bring back the Personnel Department - for people, by people!

"loving" as in "I'm loving this"
No, sorry, out the door please. I can love or (rarely nowadays in our junk society), but I won't be "loving" it.
I don't "loving".

Yes pronounced or used in the form of " Luv Vin I T " which is the new shortened version of "I'm Loving this"

Love it!

Oh gosh you’re on my soapbox, but that’s for another discussion thread…

By the way, NOT personnel either…please.

New grads making offhand comments after talking with successful boomer females: "She scares me." I heard it so many times, I should have issued a formal disciplinary process to prevent defamation of well-respected colleagues/clients. Who knows who else she did it to!

Brian, I think you have a book in the making here...all very funny...must incorporate some of these into by communication seminars..."with your permission, of course."

It would be worth running a check on LinkedIn discussions I seem to see a
lot of these happening there

Thanks Kimberley - OK with me.

Obviously I dis/rubbish/crap as much as anyone else. But dont pussy foot around swearing. If its worth saying - say it.

Sylvia - there are indeed many good LI Discussions around. And many that just do not engage.
Mostly because they are not really meant to engage - just funnell us off to somewhere else.
And then there are topics folk are afraid to comment on because it may come back some time in the future to bite them - a real shame.

Well, I did once nickname a boss Big Chief Shitting Bull…

I meant checking LI discussions for jargon disease, by the way

Harvey Greenstein, "When all is said and done." I usually want to respond that "more will be said then done and things will be said and done that can't be unsaid and undone".
The other is "at the end of the day". This one gets a response "at the end of the day it's night."

I've had it with "socialize", as in "I'm going to socialize this with my leadership."

This discussion continues to make me laugh. It's so refreshing to see that I'm not the only one who sees the humour in it all. Thanks Harvey - you got me on both counts!

Dilbert lampoons business jargon so well ...
I am reminded by Chris Rainsford of one that went this way:
Wallis: Are you leveraging our resources to optimize the client's value stream?
Intern: What ?
Wallis: I'm just messing with you. Nothing I say in meetings actually means anything
Intern: Then why do you say anything?
Wallis : I tried listening once. it was awful

"Massaging the numbers"

Oh, now that reminds me of a meeting, a good few years ago, in which this
fellow tried to say “we should massage the numbers to see if we can find a
better way” but it came out as “we should masturbate the numbers…”
As you can guess, that ended the meeting.

Oh Sylia!
Well done.

"poison pill"
Debt and liabilities taken up to corrupt the balance sheet and make companies less inviting for take over.
And accountants are considered professionals?

"poison chalace"

Yes I know what its about - but I "smile maker" as the alternative really - less wet and more :)

I'm irked when advertisers ask for subjective attributes "must be a team player", "must be self-motivated" or "must be ethical" etc., etc.,... - we see this the whole time - who's going to sit back & say "oh dear, that rules me out then "...?

Very true Simon.

one that is never said but frequently true - '"don't let the facts get in the way of a good presentation"

As a small business, the term "Do your homework" is overly used. Can we try "understand your potential client's mission" or "understand the customers' issues"?


That sounds !

Not jargon, but thought worth sharing anyway. Signature line on a forum:
"Veni, Vidi, Velcro"
(I came; I saw; I stuck around.)

Thanks Sylia


Hit the ground running.



pivotal client facing role

"replenishment planner"
Could this be a fancy title for someone who stocks shelves, or are we talking about the person who tells such people where they should now be putting things?

A bank was seeking a "risk associate".
Not just any old associate, either, but one who could provide "superior service aligned with the clients' needs and the [bank's] strategic vision and business goals".
Do all this well and you could become a risk executive, who, presumably, makes the risks happen rather than just associates with them.

Or maybe a short order cook

Good comment Sylvia

" we are not looking for redundancies .. really"
Restructuring, operational and financial review.

Can we find a new word for sustainable? I just don't think it's sustainable!

rightsizing and upsizing


Brokering outcomes

Geek out
Deferred success

The use of "certainly" or "in terms of"; can be used anywhere for any reason, ultimately vacuous.

as a recruiter you have taken away approximately 90% of everything I say to clients and candidates on a daily basis.
My calls will now consist of "Hi... so how's the weather? Are you looking for a new job?"

I never in my life heard the word 'caveat' until i began working corporate. Still feels

Leanne Hoagland- Michael - thanks for the chuckle as I have had similar thoughts as this list continues to grow.

Michael - we all do it. Makes me cringe as well. But its a good reminder - and hopefully a bit of fun.

Well Brett - that comment perhaps needs a caveat? :)

"Done Deal"
"Dotted line relationship"
"Down market"


Big data

Beginning each sentence of explanation with "Basically,. . ."
Beginning an answer with "That's a great question."

"Socialize" this with (the customer/the team/engineering).

Socialize This - Obviously means take everyone out on company expenses ;-) and have a great time

I wish it actually made that much sense!

... and then we'll take it from there

When applied to small chiln, it means getting them to play nicely with
other chiln. Hmm.

Sylvia that is intresting as never heard it used in that setting as I own a Pre-School as you do, with 112 small peeps.

BM: What examples of Business Speak (jargon) really irk you? Please share and lets have a bit of fun.
TY: Brian Monger, HA! I thoroughly enjoyed reading the replies to your post. Thank you.
-Tom Yuhas, VP
Sparkle Wash the Commercial Pressure Washing Experts

That’s what happens when one of your own little peeps grows up to be a
By the way I don’t own a pre-school…couldn’t imagine a worse career!

Long Story and its not a Career, it was a failing business, so fixed it and now Cowes has a profitable community pre-school

Well, good for you! They are not easy businesses to run successfully.

Steven L. Rosenblum, MBA, "To tell you the truth..." or "To be perfectly honest...". Why start ? Is everything else you told me a lie?!

Follow J. G. (Pete)
J. G. (Pete) Green, carbon footprint and sustainablility

"Diarise" and " calenderise" - I'm not even sure how to spell them! The tendency to add "ise" to a noun actually just sounds wrong!

This must be social media's reinterpretation of a college weekend nking game! Great read, especially with a glass in one hand!

Clint Conley, P.E., LEED AP, I personally would -intermediate the established process.

"Chat" and "engage" No one seems to speak to anyone or talks to or with you. And God forbid if you use those words as you will be deemed "old school", "out of touch" and most definitely "not cool." C'est la vie, that's me!

People I know always seem to want to ‘dialogue’. First time I heard the
word used as a verb, I thought the person said “die a lot”, which generated
all kinds of interesting images in my somewhat weird mind. I now tend to
ask if we can just talk, instead.

Sylvia - you are funny. A great laugh on a lovely Friday afternoon or should it be pm?

I wish my ex-boss thought that! He went with the weird. I see you're in Toronto, Kimberley. Was just there for a job interview a month ago (internal got it). When I get that down that way again, I'll let you know and we can maybe find time for tea/coffee (or wine).

"the social era"

"I think the social era will honor the value creation starting with the single unit of a connected human, and that when we allow that human to work from their shared purpose, they will be engaged and alive and thriving."

Sylvia, If you are down this way - I will buy you lunch.

Whoa, that’s a long way to go for lunch! But I’ve wanted to get to
Australia since I was tiny, so one day…

"dogfooding" (nothing to do with the lunch invitation)
Eating your own dog food, also called dogfooding, is a slang term used to reference a scenario in which a company (usually, a software company) uses its own product to demonstrate the quality and capabilities of the product

Melbourne is internationally known as a foodie place.
Also voted worlds most livable city 2 years in a row. Due I think to the tidy up I have done :)

Nancy Curdy MSN,RN,CCNS,ANP-C, I agree with Tony..."bandwidth"....used wayyyy too much to abdicate any accountability for getting to outcome...."we don't have the bandwidth to tackle that problem..." really? Actually speaks more to motivation and "creative-width" Great thread!!! made me actually "LOL" :)

Yes, Nancy, "bandwidth" is an annoying term, and as an electrical engineer, it makes me cringe when I hear the many ways it is misused. However, the concept of being asked to do the impossible is real. Jump 30 straight up. Build a new airplane in half the time your plan says you need. Fire half your sales staff, and increase sales. Part of being a good leader is determining when the rubber band breaks.

Cleaning his clock

Haven’t heard the clock one is that Aussie?
Disconnect, when used as a noun.

Sylvia - a charming American phrase I think.

Inventory shrinkage


Is that the same as shoplifting?

Ah, well, guess I’m not American, so not up to speed on these things!

And while it is not restricted to business, I don't much "dude"
I am not too keen on being adssed as "pal" either.
Flag as inappropriate 1
MEGO effect - My Eyes Glazed Over.

Maximax - game theory strategy

People meters

Shooting from the hip

Hey! What happened to Kimberleys comment a minute ago?

"Net it out." Which is what everyone has so brilliantly done. Funny how we are supposed to be striving towards authenticity and everyone sounds the same!

Brian, do you win the prize for the most number of comments on a single post? I think you deserve it!

Ahhhhh, buddy, but we LOVE you

The latest one becoming pervasive is "double down". Personally, I don't conduct business at a blackjack table.
Turning nouns 't let me type it.

Another week another giggle.
I hate it when people adss me as "@Michael" online.
Didn't they learn how to write letters at school?
I only hope it's a passing trend, because I'm imposing my own rule - I don't reply to anyone adssing me as @Michael
I'm not @Michael, I AM Michael.

Lenora Holmsten, PMP, Corporations who say "Our employees are our most valuable asset" , and then lay off (excuse me "downsize" or "rightsize") shortly thereafter.

Gosh yes, and always said by the CEO in a deep voice, with chin somewhat
tucked in to chest, and a very serious expression in the eyes…
And even if no layoffs, no investment in the workforce either.

Any organisation who says "our employees are out number one asset" just dont get the primary value of customers either Lenora

Michael - fully agree.
..and "Doc" My name is Brian.


"Fusing The Multichannel Service Connection" Is that a good thing do you suppose?

Is that the same a frying your brain?

Doofus I it is so descriptive of certain people

"has left the company to pursue other opportunities..."

One of my favourites is a good one the CEO of a health organization in
the US (profit based org), when asked what he did about under-performing
employees, said: “We encourage them to work for the competition”. Now
THAT’s honesty!

How about "It is what it is." Great discussion!

I just saw that one in the newspaper, when an organization offered a union
$2.5 million, went to arbitration, and the award was $8.5 million. The HR
manager said, It is what it is. I’m sure that’s highly strategic!

Silvia, your comment was very interesting. I am sure the HR manager was a democrat and found the end result to be good for the union employees and had no regards for the health of the organization. I am no fan of unions and the ways they destroy healthy companies.

More of a cop out, I think, Mickey heaven forbid actually looking at
strategy to see how things could have been handled differently

I'll admit - I have used some of these suggestions. LOL . Right now - I am amused how everything is 'cloud' or 'social'. If you are not one of those two things in technology - and perhaps 'disruptive' - you are nothing. Just the other day someone contacted me looking for a disruptive marketing executive - what the heck!

Here's one that peeves me - "visionary leader"
You can replace this with - "hallucinating leader"
Or perhaps - "you shouldn't trust this person to lead you the right way to the nearest McDonald's!
Sorry - But you said let's have some fun :-)


Tom Casey, CMC, Just love the term "Futurist"!

I agree David.
Can you actually be a leader without some sort of vision?

" the greatest thing since sliced bread"
Did you know that the folks who first offerred sliced bread had a hard time selling it?

"restructuring" ..... "right size the business" .... we need some "soak" time....

Yes one can be a leader without some sort of vision. I'm going to offer you two suggestions:
1. You can be an unemployed leader & therefore without mandate.
2. You can be an employed leader & be using someone else' vision (happens a lot).

"soak time"?

A leader without a team? An oxymoron?

How about this - "Innovation".
"Innovation" being the primary Change Management philosophy of the western world (the east tends to gather around Continuous Improvement).
The crazy thing is that Change Management evolutions fail at an alarming rate using Innovation as the approach. And yet we continue to rely on it.
So not only is it an overused quote in my opinion, it's an oxymoron.

I LOVE Micheal's earlier comment (restructuring/right-sizing)
Right-Sizing for who exactly?
:-) :-) :-)

OK Here's another one for you (& MY you have a lot of question marks at the end of your entries :-)
"Influential Leader"
Tongue in Cheek Job Description:
1. We're NOT actually going to give you a team to lead, but we're going to hold you accountable for getting results from everyone you meet from here-on-in a daily basis.
2. Oh & BTW - You're yearly assessment is going to include a review of how you inspire those people you have not met yet AND we're going to judge you on your visionary leadership skills.

Hi David
I find discussions go better when we ask and listen. Thus a lot of question marks

High level and Laser focus I advise people to run when these terms are used.

We have a thing about facilitate! Although lots of people will disagree.

Liza "facilitate" should be here. I agree

Something for the weekend...... "Intuitive"
As in, intuitive software. Invented by stoned Californians to sell overpriced junk (hello Apple) and make us all believe their applications and toys are so easy to use it's "Intuitive".
So why do they still need to produce manuals, user guides, Dummies guides, training videos on YouTube, etc., etc?

And the roots of the word “intuition” lie in the sense of a tutor as a
guardian (bit ), so your ‘inner tutor’ should be
telling you that the software is far from instinctive, not requiring direct
knowledge, and all the other shades of meaning associated with the word
In reality, there’s always logic underlying intuition, even if that logic
turns out to be flawed now, at some point it was real. I used to hate
anyone called Martin automatically and intuitively. When I examined the
logic one day, it was that little first from brat with whom I shared a
double desk, and who used to take the bolts out of the seat so it would tip
up when I sat down, or lift up the desk lid suddenly when I was
dayaming. And yes, he probably grew up to be one of the most wonderful
and caring people you could ever encounter!

Tired of the overuse of Top Talent......

I truly hate: "My ASK is....." Aarrrgggghhhh!!!!!!

All "boilerplate" expressions are just tiring. (Still, a good way to tell real "Talents" from "would ").

"big ask"
Does my ask look big in this?


Most acronyms that get thrown around , and a tactic people used to keep anyone from questioning what they were talking about was to throw so many acronyms into the presentation that everyone was so confused they were afraid to ask a question out of fear they would look stupid.
I'm not sure if it's the texting/mobile-device phenomena or what - but I'm seeing a lot more ambiguous and/or arcane acronyms in meetings these days. It ves me crazy.

Good comment Martin.
I suggest to everyone - if you don't understand - ask.


I understand where you are coming from

I remember one of the big consulting firms put out a handbook on high tech double speak to be used to cut the fluff out of communications. It was actually an internal document - don't remember how I got it - but it was widely circulated. No matter - it would be out of date now. But, this thread strikes up the idea of something similar applicable to today's world. Kernel of content could be pulled from this thread...

You do????? How about you tell me…


Good idea! We could all be the JargonBusters.

Sylvia - Who ya gonna call? Or just Follow us?

Rusted on

Oh, I'
My acronym is bigger than your acronym.
There are only 26 letters in the alphabet and at the rate these things spawn there are eventually going to be total communications breakdowns....
= Automatic Telling Machine
= Asynchronous Transfer Mode
= Member of Parliament
= Military Police
= Megapixel
So when a computer geek is talking to a banking geek just watch their brains explode when one thinks he's talking communications and the other believes the discussion is all about cash withwl protocols.
Oh, and I hate the word "protocol", especially when babbled endlessly in Hollywood spy films and TV.

p them an email

Michael - acronyms are a great source of "irk" I find

I dis(intensely) "POLICY".
Not written on stone folks.

e-mail? I'd prefer to p them a polite message, tied to a brick.

Carbon Footprint.
Some ancient remnant on a cave floor from 50,000 years ago?
"Carbon dating" of course means going out with a 50,000 year old wrinkly/mummy.

"irk" is that some kind of acronym? :-) I Really Know-it-all (irk)
Consultants, irks on the job.
Conference, a gathering of irks.
Trade show, where irks talk in irkish to other irks.
How many irks does it take to change a lightbulb?
"We'll get back to you on that one."

I have many expressions that have bugged me through out my career. But the top ones now are: AWESOME, LETs DO ------- (lunch, dinner, Starbucks, etc.), use of the word "" in any context unless it describes how you feel about a person and "Have a great day!" as if it is an order. There are so many others it is almost frightening. Why cannot people just use normal words to say what they mean, unless they do not know what they mean?

Wow, this is going to be fun. We actually tried one day to put all the corporate buzzwords into a sentence and it was magnificent! here are a number of the best I have heard lately - with rough translations.
granularity - as in detail
solution - used as a verb "We will solution that problem" HUH?
Flip you the deck - send you the powerpoint presentation
Let's vet that issue - let's study that issue
That is enough for now

Thanks for those Paul.

I thought of another one. Any thing that begins with the word "value" such as value proposition or worse yet a "value space." To me this is so overused and meaningless that I turn off immediately when ever I hear "value ____ (anything).

I’m getting there with employee engagement so overused it’s becoming

Incentivize...means the same as incent but I guess sounds more intelligent because there are more letters. Also, the word "done" as in I'll be done in a minute" 7th grade teacher said "Cakes are done, people are finished"...right up there with "irregardless"

I agree on "incentivise" Could be a top ten "irk"for me.

And... "whatever" I think of that right up there with "I haven't got a clue" (Probably but why say it out loud?)

Raising the Bar

If a tree falls in a forrest and you are "not there"....

Well, there are times when it’s good to be honest and admit you don’t have
a clue. Better than rambling on trying to make it seem

Going postal

Oh gosh, just saw a job advertised at WalMart for an “Apparel Processor”
Turns out it’s the person who puts clothes on the sales racks.

I had a sales manager on my team one time and he actually adopted this one, created by the Movie Glengarry GlenRoss, in his sales meetings ... regularly... "Coffee is for closers"...
Unfortunately I had to think outside the box to create a win-win solution that kept all Stakeholders bought-in, while simultaneously strategically positioning the conceptual 30,000 feet view of the momentous paradigm shift we would encounter in our critical path, once I had broached the subject with the broader audience; thus ensuring we created a synergy whereby all would sign off on the tactical downsizing execution through the fulfillment of his offboarding in order to to increase his bandwidth for connecting with more BS'ers.... Translated... I fired him...

Sylvia - with the utmost respect, try "I don't know" Better than being "clueless"

Roosevelt would have loved you, Mal!

A wise man once said, "T'is better to keep your mouth shut and appear a
fool than to open it and remove all doubt!"
John R. Jepsen
(Home) 203-227-1823
(Cell). 203-788-3092

I say that a lot, too!

“Synergizing our efforts to…”

I want you to liase with your team, socialize the idea, and give me a commit to commit.

Good one Jeff - I can commit to that

Ah, Brian, but can you be fully engaged?????

Riadh Mezi (1800+) Sometime ''Partnership / Partner'' .... as they said :" We are not just a supplier, we are a Partner" !
PS : True till payment done :)

Cadence; Holistic; Paradigm Shift; Symbiotic ...... the list goes on and on

Gosh, I think my conversation is going to be limited to ‘hi’, pretty soon!

Sylvia, there are a fair number of people whose language could be replaced by a machine that cuts out and replays excerpt sequences of bad Hollywood and business speak. I have one guy who works for me now that keeps using "..ok, it's time to rock and roll.." The first 20 times was ok, but................

I think John Cleese could do a lot with this thread. And pay us all royalties, of course! Perhaps we should write a collective article for HBR using all the terms, and see if anyone notices.

Not business words, but "bad, sick and wicked" being used as a synonyms for good
And "you go girl"

J curve

1. he/she left to pursue other employment opportunities.
2. at the end of the day......this phrase was used about every 20th sentence by British Managers sent across the big water to tame us wild crazy americans
3. Synergy .. already mentioned but worth repeating

There is a plug-in for older versions of amweaver web design application that includes the ability to produce (xxx) amount of Corporate Babble. I suspect all conslutants have it installed on their systems...
Corporate mumbo-jumbo
By moving executive focus from lag financial indicators to more actionable lead indicators, defensive reasoning, the doom loop and doom zoom exploiting the productive lifecycle. The vitality of conceptual synergies is of supreme importance whenever single-loop learning strategies go wrong, while those at the coal face don't have sufficient view of the overall goals. Organizations capable of double-loop learning, building a dynamic relationship between the main players.
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I used to have a Techno-babble plug-in for all Trekkies, but it doesn't work on the latest version of amweaver.

Not really business speak, but worth sharing. A colleague just showed me a
resume she received yesterday. The candidate insists that she can levitate
results! We assume she means leverage, but we both
comes with the statement.

I love resumes that tell us they are outstanding communicators - but the resume does not seem to support that claim.

Certainly not just consultants Michael. But some good examples there.

For sure, re resumes. My two favourites that I received as a hiring manager are one that insisted the candidate could monopolize my resources (assume capitalize on?), and another, an ex-military, that had extensive navel experience. Again, the visual in the latter is quite arresting.

puts the pedal to the metal, so the rubber hits the road.

any war related cliches. For example "We can't go to battle" with this.

"...dialoguing..." as in "We've been dialoguing...".

Ditto any Starwars related comments, Bruce I never know what people are
talking about, having not seen the movies. Also Harry Potter stuff

At the end of the day the interest of transparency ...we need more band width it scalable ...the platform is ...the architecture of the data base ...

Incentivize - Surely tossing about a word with a V AND a Z sounds more impressive than any other traditional word (I found it interesting that Lexicide has a page specifically about Incentivize / Incent

Margaret Miller, There's "inboarding" too. I still hear "walk the talk". Why do people say, "We were having a conversation "around" the topic of..." What?

Margaret -perhaps they don't want to get into the actual subject? :)

"Does that make sense?"....and yes I've used it myself...sorry...

Boil the ocean?

Sorry, could not resist as it's a Friday.
UK members will recognise the word from the brilliant political satire "The Thick of It".
Apparently it was used yesterday in the Houses of Parliament, by a member of the opposition to describe the UK government's latest communications mess surrounding UK domestic energy policy.
Process that.

I came across this the other day " compellingly strategize multimedia based channels" and have no idea what it means!!!!

I just want to get an overview, an helicopter shot of where we are.

how many of us have been "thrown under the bus"?

How about Core Competency.Being competent is not the standard we’re seeking. It’s

Giving 110%

The helicopter shot thing is absolutely the dumbest thing I have heard this month. Wow.

Hmm, kinds of ‘omnishambles’ - guess it’s not at the overused point
yet, at least in Canada.

Huh, Cath it’s also a split infinitive, and when you see that, it’s often
a sign of someone trying to make something sound important.

Tom Kennedy, What we learn from this interesting discussion is that most everyone has words that “irk” them and that they’re (we’re) all different.
This is solid evidence that your communications must be effective. We can’t avoid words which some will find irksome but we can consider the audience first (it’s always about them, not us) and have a succinct, memorable and effective message. How many people do?
And for God’s sake, please stop calling the slide deck “the presentation”! Think about that.

Martin, and everyone,
"The Thick Of It" isn't a satire, it's a documentary.
At least, given the electricity tariff "omnishambles" in the last few days it appears to be one, with the pre-planned answers for each MP to give to the press having been leaked to the press in advance.
I'm still laughing. :-)

Tom why call it a slide ‘deck’ in the first place? I suppose that might
have made sense when we had those piles of transparencies. Maybe it’s
because of the illusory card tricks of many presentations!

How about "do the math" where no math is remotely involved. Makes and executive sound

"are you with me?" is irksome. Consensus isn't something to command from your audience. It is earned.

Number crunching.
Cooking the books

Well, I don’t know about the books, but any number that gets crunched is a
good thing for a wordophile ! I’m sure my mathematician brother
would have a duckfit if he saw I’d written that.

Tom Kennedy, Yes Sylvia, that's my point. It's a misnomer and certainly not "the presentation."

Dog and Pony Show

"Excited". I'm getting bored with people saying, "I'm really
excited about X"
Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless handheld

" We are delighted to announce..."
We/I am passionate about..." (How unique!)

"this is just a courtesy call" No its not.

We would

I would

This week the most popular word has been Perfect as in "Ok Perfect" I've had sales call after sales call and when I say its not for us we do need it, the response is "Ok, Perfect" By Friday of last week i even found myself doing it ;-)

As someone who used to teach physics and maths any claim to a % above 100 is really
annoying and I hear and see it all the time as in we'll give it 160% effort! It's nonsense! You can't give more than 100%

Leanne Hoagland- Agree about the individual giving only 100%. Sometimes people fail to mention when two people are collectively involved their combined efforts can each exceed 100% when compared to individual efforts. This has been demonstrated when one horse pulls 1,000 pounds and two horses when pulling together can pull 2,500# as an example.

It's still only 100% of the total possible though.

Yes 100% of the combined sum which is greater than the individual parts but still the whole is 100% ;-)

Acronyms. Whether speaking or in written communications, if the listener or reader is not familiar with industry, trade or corporate acronyms they may not want to ask for a definition for the sake of being perceived as not credible. It is respectful to avoid acronyms and to speak to all audience members with language that everyone understands.

100% Guaranteed!

We can only make this offer today

lost a job because I responded to an interview question if I'd be prepared to give 110% everyday...I said, I'll give 100% from 7AM until 6PM and any other hours asked, but I find the notion of 110% to be difficult to do continuously. I had 5 followup questions regarding the "not giving 110%".

ROI in terms of human resources. I hate both of these and putting them together really is painful. We are not employees, or even people, we are a resources. And there is a Return on Investment for hiring someone. It is so de-humanizing.
My other least favorite is - This is business, it is not personal when being fired. Of course it is personal!

I moderated a job ad this morning that called for a "Verticals Integrator"
Something to do with organising people who are standing up? :)

"Let's put our heads together and see what we come up with..."

Or a very big headache, depending on how fast people move and how
adept people are at head banging
Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless handheld

Courtesy of the UK Government -
"innovation ecosystem"
"must attend event" (same mail as above)
"commercialise" (ditto)
During a global meltdown recession austerity period only government can afford to pay for such twaddle, but they keep us entertained.

Long story short.....always preceding the novel version

You misspelled commercialiZe. If you are going to 'iZe' a word you must do
it properly!
John R. Jepsen
(Home) 203-227-1823
(Cell). 203-788-3092

No they mis-spelt it.

I just read a recruiter using "inbox me" instead of send me an email. This was new to me.

Phew! I will have to augmentize my Word Dixtionary to reflect the new
spelling. Thanks.
John R. Jepsen
(Home) 203-227-1823
(Cell). 203-788-3092

2 phrases that I have heard contsantly that I try to avoid for obvious reasons are:
"Could you do me a favor and check your junk?" (when asking someone to look in their spam folder for errant e-mails)
"So, what's your package look ?" (when asking a sales rep to talk about his Base/OTE/Bonus structure)

That's funny!

Charles - it is considered rude to promote in someone elses Discussion.

Roman - She was thinking "inside the box" :)

No comment :) This could get out of hand.

Jill Berquist, May I add networking terms that I hate:
Reach out
I want to pick your brain
The last one, the WORST.

Check this out:
" Price as a ver of strategy may or may not be indicative of commoditisation. It may also be a way to fund value added differentiation, pre chasm engagement and many other things. However it may also be as you suggest - a way to compete in a commodity market - such as Lowest Priced Inks and Lowest Overall Cost to Print.
And when price can fund value added product, bundle and/or promotion it is separate from product comparison value but can build brand and capture aspirational customer support. In a more mature positive brand indexed brand the value added can be withwn and ease the COGS burden on the product."

Jill - re "brain picking". Makes me think of "pecking order" for some reason :)
And vulture capitalists

I hate:
"Step Up" - totally overused in athletics, business, everywhere.
"I'm just giving you a heads up..." translation is typically this phrase is a precursor to bad news coming next.

Er, what? I think it means give customers what they want at a price
they’re happy to pay that makes a profit. But then again, maybe it means
something totally different.

"killer copy" A rolled up newspaper for swatting annoying insects.

re "Jill - re "brain picking". Makes me think of "pecking order" for some reason :)"
Funny.... makes me think of Zombies.

Michael - Zombies? The British band of the 60's? :)

B- Yes... and oddly The Zombies always make me think of Indiana. Possibly it's the line in Time Of The Season that goes:
"What's your name, Hoosier Daddy?"
...course that could be a mondegreen.

"Double down" is getting really old. I find it interesting that the political scene has turned into a Blackjack bet.
The other irritant is when perfectly good nouns are turned into horrific verbs such as "dialoguing". Just because it gets out into the dictionary doesn't mean you sound smart using it.

My pet hate over the past few weeks has been "Negative Growth" mainly from politicians saying we are now out of "Negative Growth" and into "Positive growth" How can something grow negativily.
May be next time the bank change me account fees I can say at least its negative growth ;-)

Well, I suppose dialoguing with someone helps you avoid actually talking
with someone…you know, having a real conversation

@Alistair - negative for you, but growth for the bank at whatever the fee was :)

“Grooming” people for leadership roles. Just got another report that
carried this line. Make me think of apes and chimpanzees picking fleas and
stuff off each other. Why not focus on developing people that seems far
more comprehensive. Can include flea disinfestations if needed.

I have two on my least favourite list: "Grow" the business! I'm from the 'build' the business camp! Secondly, "Integrate"! Seemingly, everything can be integrated - from global strategy to the office furniture!

I can top that one I heard one executive talk about an integrated
integration strategy. Not a particularly successful executive, I might
add, in my opinion anyway.

REALLY tired of "synergy" and any derivation thereof. It has been used to death. It should be reserved for games of bulls#$t bingo. Also loathe the phrase, "let's put that in the parking lot" when referring to an idea.

I've just used the term "integrated strategy" for my next Prosperity video presentation, still editing it (have eyestrain, taking a break now)....

I actually ‘integrated’, and haven’t found another word that really
captures what it means (when used correctly, that is). I sometimes use
‘unified’, but stuff can be unified without being integrated. Any

"Warmest Regards" - from someone I have never heard of before. Apart from the triteness.

Apple just redunded someone who was apparently a personal favourite of Steve Jobs - but apparently disrupted everyone else. (apparently he was in charge of IOS software but would not sign a letter of aplogy about the Maps fiasco) Well..Steve aint here no more ....

1 comment:

  1. This is really inspiring. Could really gear you up for a bold presentation!


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