The Most Annoying Business Buzzwords

  • Cringe-Worthy Office Jargon

    Management types like to use buzzwords because they think it is a creative way to share information and get the point across. After you’ve heard too many buzzwords, you start to wonder if anything solid is actually going on. Soon, eye rolling becomes the involuntary reaction to any buzzword you hear. Here are 15 of the most annoying buzzwords that recently made it into the business mainstream. Photo Credit: powerbooktrance
    “Take it to the next level”
  • “Take it to the next level”

    Closely related to “kick it up a notch,” “take it to the next level” is all about progress. You’re supposed to make something better when a manager tells you this. Or put in more effort. Or whatever. But, really, do you know what level you’re at now? And how will you know when you’ve made it to the next level? It might be more practical to just set measurable goals. Photo Credit: Michael Caven
    “Circle back”
  • “Circle back”

    In business lexicon, this means that you will talk again in the future. It’s incomprehensible that such a phrase would be used to imply discussing progress sometime down the road. Really, it just sounds like you plan on going in circles for a while, accomplishing nothing — or revisiting issues already hashed out. Instead, why not just say, "Let’s talk next month?" Photo Credit: oddsock
    “Learning”
  • “Learning”

    There’s nothing wrong with learning. However, it has become popular in the business world as a noun. Even if you aren’t the grammar police, it’s OK to cringe when you hear, “Make sure to document the learnings from this training exercise.” That’s because “learning” is actually a verb. Using verbs as nouns might be hip among managers and teamwork consults, but it still sounds stupid. Photo Credit: WikiMedia
    “Out of pocket”
  • “Out of pocket”

    Remember when this phrase used to mean that you paid for something yourself, up front? Well, now it’s a cutesy way of saying that you’re not around. This phrase has replaced “unavailable,” as in “I’m out of pocket this week,” on many out-of-office automatic response e-mails. Really, though, it’s just a little silly. Photo Credit: WikiMedia
    “Utilize”
  • “Utilize”

    Many business types believe that there’s no reason to say “use” when you can say a word that has twice as many letters. After all, you sound much smarter when you use bigger words, right? It’s just one of those words that makes it sound like you’re saying something when you really aren’t. Photo Credit: batega
    “Over the wall”
  • “Over the wall”

    If your boss tells you to send something “over the wall,” it means that you are supposed to get it to a client. Really? You want to imply that there is a wall between you and your clients? Besides, it seems ridiculous to send a project quote over a wall when you can just send it much quicker and easier through e-mail. Photo Credit: WikiMedia
    “Tee it up”
  • “Tee it up”

    This phrase indicates that you are supposed to plan something. Whether it’s an event or a conference, or whether you are just getting a presentation together, when you are told to “tee it up,” it’s times to get moving. But, really, it’s just as effective (and less confusing) to say, “organize the luncheon for next week.” Photo Credit: WikiMedia
    “Impact”
  • “Impact”

    Here is another example of a grammatical shake-up. Impact is a noun often used as a verb in business. “We’re going to impact the market,” sounds hard-hitting, and maybe a little motivating, but the word is probably being used because it’s difficult to remember when to use “affect” and "effect." Photo Credit: WikiMedia
    “Full service”
  • “Full service”

    When did this term stop referring to gas stations and start including corporate America? We hear about “full service” software companies, marketing agencies and other types of corporations. But we don’t actually hear about what this “full service” entails, or whether a facial is included while waiting for the “full service” investment representative at the firm. Photo Credit: WikiMedia
    “Manage expectations”
  • “Manage expectations”

    There’s nothing like dressing up plain old underperformance. But you don’t want to tell your clients or partners that you will be doing a crap job. So, instead, you “manage expectations” in order to convince others that your efforts are in line with what they really want. Photo Credit: WikiMedia
    “Break down silos”
  • “Break down silos”

    Unless you grew up in a somewhat rural neighborhood, you are probably wondering what a silo is — and how you could break one down. Business managers use this phrase to indicate that they want more interdepartmental communications, without uptight protocols getting in the way of building more comfortable relationships. But, since silos are used to store things (especially grains), it really doesn’t make any sense to break them down. Photo Credit: WikiMedia
    “Low hanging fruit”
  • “Low hanging fruit”

    In order to motivate workers, managers sometimes use this phrase to encourage them to get the easy things done and out of the way first. Then they feel accomplished and ready to take on the harder tasks. However, it just sounds like you are either lazy, or have low expectations (or both). Photo Credit: WikiMedia
    “Synergize”
  • “Synergize”

    And you thought “synergy” was an annoying buzzword. Now it’s been “taken up a level” and converted into something verb-like. Synergy is when different folks work together to create something that is greater than the sum of the effects of the individuals. Apparently you have to synergize before you can succeed. Or something. Photo Credit: WikiMedia
    “Solution”
  • “Solution”

    It used to be that a solution explained a math proof, or at least put a problem to rest. Now this word is applied to just about anything, but most commonly to a collection of technologies that do ... something. In fact, from damage control lingo to IT, “solution” is something of a catchall meant to convey that important and helpful things are being done — even when nothing is accomplished. Photo Credit: WikiMedia
    "Take that offline"
  • "Take that offline"

    Your boss might use this phrase as a way of saying, “Maybe we should discuss this in private,” when what he or she really means is, “I’d like to kick you for bringing that up in this setting.” But it’s much more confusing than either of those options. Photo Credit: youngthousands
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