Few things expose a person’s lack of experience or preparation more quickly than buzzwords. Clichéd, repetitive and often meaningless; buzzwords and jargon are the bane of senior executives’ professional lives. Though you probably have your very own selection of irritating idioms you’d like to consign to Room 101, we thought we’d make a list of some of worst offenders currently doing the office rounds.
Thinking outside the box
According to a recent survey by the Institute of Leadership and Management, 57% of executives find the phrase ‘thinking outside the box’ to be the most infuriating of them all. A fairly unconstructive way of telling people to come up with a new, unique idea, the phrase should have been ditched years ago.
The survey showed that the next most annoying phrase was ‘going forward’ with 53% of respondents ranking it as an irritant. Though it may seem fairly inoffensive at first, repetition has made the words two of the most hated a professional can hear.
A favourite phrase of networkers and people trying to show a light touch in management, ‘touch base’ has been winding up senior executives for a few years now. It’s recently been joined by the even more unnecessary ‘touch base offline’ which is a roundabout way of asking someone to meet face to face.
A lot of people in business seem to think the phrase ‘reach out’ is friendlier and less intimidating than ‘contact’, ‘get in touch’ or ‘call’. This has lead to the phrase finding its way into countless marketing dictionaries. Hopefully it won’t be too long before it finds its way out again.
You’ve heard of a brain storm, well, now it’s time to have an ‘idea shower’. Some managers believe this is a less threatening way to ask for input from their team. The fact that it doesn’t offer us anything new hopefully means it won’t be around for long.
Let’s action that
Instead of saying, ‘let’s action that’ at the end of a meeting or discussion – why not just say, ‘that’s what we’ll do’?
One of the most meaningless buzzwords out there at the moment: ‘synergy’ seems to have a huge number of meanings in the world of business. From ‘balance’ to ‘combination’ and ‘collaboration’ to ‘cooperation, the word is thrown into the mix whenever someone wants to sound like they know what they’re talking about.
Going forward, whenever you touch base or reach out to your customers, you’ll be able to action removing buzzwords and jargon from your sales pitch. This should help to create synergy and allow your idea shower to flow freely.
To find out other ways to improve your communication skills, explore our site, or contact a member of our team.