20 Overused Buzzwords to Avoid in the Workplace

20 Overused Buzzwords to Avoid in the Workplace

If you’re trying to get your point across at work, whether in an email or in a meeting it can help not to use those over used cliches. You know the words we mean, the ones that are so commonly heard they give little weight to their true meaning anymore. In fact, many are so over used or poorly used they can even be considered annoying.

“Leverage,” “interface” and “circle back” are among the most annoying and overused terms in work settings today, according to a survey of executives. In research conducted by firm Accountemps, 150 senior executives from the nation’s largest companies cited these 20 problem words and phrases:

  • “Out of pocket”
  • “Deep dive”
  • “Forward-thinking”
  • “Dynamic”
  • “Let me get back to you.”
  • “Pick your brain”
  • “Employee engagement”
  • “LOL”
  • “It’s not my job.”
  • “It’s above my pay grade.”
  • “When am I going to get a raise?”
  • “I am overwhelmed.”
  • “Crunch time”
  • “Win-win”
  • “Value-added”
  • “Think outside the box.”
  • “Leverage”
  • “At the end of the day”
  • “Circle back”
  • “Synergy”

Annoyance isn’t the only feeling that can be generated for over used buzzword. Executive coach Liz Bywater, president of Bywater Consulting Group, believes they can serve as a “linguistic shorthand” when used properly and in context. “But using too many buzzwords can lessen an individual’s credibility as an independent, intelligent creative thinker,” she says. “At worst, it can make them look like a wishy-washy wannabe.”

Buzzwords In a Job Interview:

We recommend even more caution about using buzzwords in a job interview. On the plus side a few buzzwords can show familiarity with the industry and by using them you could be establishing a connection with the person interviewing you. On the other side you don’t want to come across as too cliche and lacking meaning, or like the research suggests – annoying.

Therefore we recommend you consider your buzzwords carefully. Ask yourself ‘does this word add clarity to the point I am making?’. If not don’t use it. You want words that add clarity and capture the complexity of a situation. Your goal should be to make communication crisp, clear and meaningful.

In addition make sure you know what the buzzwords mean. Ask for clarification or research words you don’t understand. Some words or phrases have different meanings and implications, and these can alter in regards of the context. Make sure you know what you are talking about by using the right words.

What buzzwords do you find annoying in the workplace? Tweet us at @KennedyPearce to let us know.


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