Overused Business Buzzwords

Today's business world is awash in overused buzzwords, usually related to past "management trends du jour."  You've seen many of them on those obnoxious motivational posters hanging around offices, and you've definitely heard them ad nauseum in meetings.

A lot of presenters think these terms make them appear "in the loop" and well-read. But while the temptation is great to use these words and phrases as shortcuts, they have become the subject of water cooler and e-mail jokes ("Buzzword Bingo" was the polite name for one of them) and even websites on the game and the language itself.

This list is not comprehensive, but avoidance of these terms will help in designing a presentation that is fresh and interesting instead of tired and humdrum. (Of course, if you're making a presentation to a bunch of corporate wonks who revel in these terms, use this list as a resource and pepper your presentation with these terms to make them think you really know your stuff when you're not really telling them anything new!)

Many of these words are correct terms, but are being applied in ways other than intended by their meanings. For example, it seems trendy these days to make nouns into verbs, as though they're describing some new activity that's never been tried before in the business world. A few inclusions are new terms that have become just plain annoying. If you have any favorites that are not listed, e-mail them to Lynn. It won't stop those around you from using them, but at least you'll feel better.

If you want to find better alternatives to these overused buzzwords, contact Lynn to discuss working together on your next presentation.  You may also enjoy the British website for the Plain English Campaign.



A

absolutely (when used instead of "yes")
accountability

achieve clarity
action items
actualize
address the issue

aggregate (used as a verb)

agile
all-hands meeting
alpha office
alternative
analysis paralysis
aperture moments (as a synonym for media outlets)
architect

around (when used in place of "about" or "concerning")
aspiration statement
at the end of the day, or at day's end

audacious





B

back of the envelope

back-end
backward-compatible
ballpark

bandwidth
been-there-done-that
benchmark(ing)
best of breed
best practice
between a rock and a hard place
big picture
bio-break
blamestorming
bleeding edge
blue-sky thinking
bottom line
brainstorm(ing)

branding
bucketize
business case
business silo
buy-in





C

cash neutral
challenge (when used as a euphemism for "problem")
champion (used as a verb)
change agent (or catalyst)

change management
chart it out

circle back

circle the wagons
client focus(ed)

client-wiring
closure
cluster team(s)
coach(ing)

collaborate

color (when used to mean insight or detail)
communicate
communications channels (as a synonym for media outlets)

compelling
conceptualize
contribution, contributor
core competencies
credibility
cross-platform

cultivate our resources

culture
customer-focused

cutting-edge





D

deep dive

deliverables

delta (used for "change in," as in mathematics/statistics)
disintermediate
diversity
dog and pony show

doing more with less
downsize
drill down
downward trend

drinking water from a fire hydrant
drop back and punt
dysfunctional





E

ecosystem

enable(r)
emotional leakage

employee engagement
empower(ment)

emulate

engaged
enterprise-wide
envisioneer
e-tize
excellence
experiencing slippage
exponential(-ly)





F

face time

facilitate
fact of the matter
fast track
flattening
flexible
flowchart (used as a verb)
framework
front-end
functionalities

fusion
future-proof





G

game plan
gap analysis

get on the bus

get our ducks in a row

giving 110%
glass is half full
globalize
go the extra mile
goal-oriented
goal-setting
going forward
grow the business
grow revenues

guiding principles

guru





H

half-pregnant

have a dialog/have a dialog around

heads up

headwind
health break
heavy lifting
herding cats

high-level view

holistic approach

hypos





I

ideation

if you will
impact (used as a verb)
implement

in front of the bus
in the loop
in-market for (instead of "in the market for")

incentivize
info (super)highway
infomediaries

initiative
innovate

inspect what you expect

integrated
intellectual capital
involuntary retirement
issue





K

key (adjective) to describe anything
key player
knowledge base
knowledge management





L

leadership (when used as a synonym for managers)
leading-edge
lean & mean

let's not boil the ocean

let's sharpen our pencils

level-setting
leverage
literally (when incorrectly used in place of figuratively)
living document

logistics
long-term
low-hanging fruit
low-risk high-yield





M

make the ask

matrix (used as a verb)
mentor(ing)
methodology

metrics
mindset
mindshare
mission-critical
mission statement
monetize
morale
moving parts
multitask(ing)

myself (when used in place of "I" or "me")





N

nailing Jell-O® to a tree

napkin (used as a verb)
negative growth

net-net

net present value (used as a verb)
network(ing)
nimble

north of
not rocket science

NPV (used as a verb)





O

offline

on a (whatever time frame) basis
on the same page

on your/my plate

onus
operationalize
opportunity (when used as a euphemism for "problem")
optimization
out of the loop
out-of-the-box
outside the box
ownership
oxymoron(ic)





P

paradigm (often followed by "shift")
Pareto-ize
partner (used as a verb)
peel the onion

percolate
performance-based

performance management

personal branding

ping
play hardball
position (used as a verb)
power shift
principle-centered
prioritize
priority (used as an adjective)
proactive
process review
productize

profitable growth
proprietary

push back
push the envelope





Q

quality
quality vector





R

ramp up

reach out
react, used as a noun: "What are they doing for a react?"
real estate
reality check
recontextualize
re-engineer(ing)

refresh
regroup

relative to
repurpose

resonate
resource constrained
result(s)-driven
rightsize
revisit
risk effect
risk management
robust
ROI
rounding error
rubber stamp (used as a verb)

run it up the flagpole

run point





S

scalable
scenario
schedule compressed
sea change

seamless
service organization
singing from the same hymnal
skill set
smartsize

socialize (when used to mean "communicate with", also now being used to mean publicizing something via social media)
solutioning

solutions-oriented

south of

spitball (used as a verb)

squared away

stakeholder
stand-alone
strategic fit
strategic gap

strategy
streamline
stretch the envelope

sustainability

SWOT (used as a verb)
synergy, synergize, synergistic





T

tailwind

tactical
take that off-line
talking points
task force
team (dynamics, player, building)
tee up
That said,...

the writing's on the wall
think outside the box
360-degree survey

throw (someone) under the bus
tiger team

tighten the loop
timely (especially "on a timely basis")
tip of the iceberg
top of the house
total quality (often followed by "driven" or "management")
touch base
touch points (as a synonym for media outlets)

traction
train wreck
transition (when used as a verb)

transparent/transparency

trending towards

turf it out
turn-key
24/7 (or 24/7/365)





U

ubiquitous

unpack (when used to mean exploring the ramifications of something)
user-centric
utilize





V

validate
value-added

value-driven
vertical integration
vision statement





W

we (when used in place of "you")

Web 2.0

web-enabled

whiteboard (when used as a verb)
win-win

within a reasonable timeframe
world class

We help you tell your story.

If you've read enough on here and you're ready to get started, we look forward to hearing from you!

Telephone : 904-672-7466

(Note: We don't answer the phone when we're working on a project. You're better off emailing us.)
Email : lynn@thompsonwriting.com

Get Social with us!

 

Oh, yes, we're on all the social media! Follow us there for news, links and a little fun stuff.

  • c-facebook
  • c-tbird
  • c-linkedin
Are you a leader?

 

If you lead a team and need a little something to give you a boost, read Lynn's latest book, The Feline CEO! It takes lessons learned from cat behavior and applies them to leadership. Whether you're leading a company, a nonprofit organization, a church, or a work group, there's something in it for you! (And you don't even need to love cats.)

​​

© 2019, Thompson Writing & Editing, Inc.

Jacksonville, Florida, USA