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Monday, January 24, 2011

Is Business Jargon Good or Bad?

OMG, I can't believe that the business clichés are under siege. Have fun reading a recent LinkedIn discussion on business buzzwords (BWs) and which ones communicators would like to see dropped from our lexicons.

Actionable, robust, outside the box, energize, synergy, low hanging fruit, win/win, paradigm shift, giving 110%, scalable, bringing value...you name it (oops that could be jargon), there's a buzzword that one writer abhors; yet there's probably another abuser of the bus speak.

The French have a phrase for this: chacun a son gout, aka to each his own taste. For each buzzword that one hates, there's someone else who relishes the phrase like mustard on a hotdog.

An I've got your back BW defense.

Buzzwords have a place in business and in our everyday conversation. BW's are shorthand, with shared and broad meanings. They save time, create efficiencies and convey true meaning. In the world all too often influenced by PowerPoint and Twitter, BW's are the low hanging fruit of communications that help when you don’t have more argot to explain.

Would you rather use a BW that the troops can synergize with, or invent a new BW that people will get tired of in about two weeks or a fortnight?


A great buzzword goes viral or spreads globally in a nano-second. I don't object to any BW as long as it's in context, aka inside the sidelines, and not outside the field of play. If used too much repeatedly, redundantly or more often than necessary, a BW definitely qualify as buzz kill.


Frankly my dear, I love BW's when used well, but if abused watch out there will be hell to pay.

What's your take?

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