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How to Eliminate Annoying Business Jargon

We all have business jargon we love to hate, especially words and phrases that have become overused to the point of losing their impact or meaning. There are several amusing buzzword lists out there, in particular this absolute gem from last year.

However, most articles don’t offer any solutions for this work culture quirk that sucks a little joy from everyone’s day. Well today I boldly offer a solution for all!

Before I demonstrate, I want to call out my personal Top 5 Most Annoying Business Buzzwords. These haunt the e-mails and PowerPoint decks I see on an almost daily basis. Here is my Best of the Worst:

5. Empower

To me, this takes the cake for most condescending business term. Whenever I hear this, I think of the speaker telling me, “I empower you to do this work for me so I don’t have to do it.” Not very inspiring.

4. Think Outside the Box

This phrase is so old that even Taco Bell replaced its “Think Outside the Bun” commercial parody last year. A reader put it best by suggesting, “Forget the box, just think.”

3. Work/Life balance

Raise your hand if you work 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every Monday through Friday with no weekends. This could be my Silicon Valley bias or the fact that I work for a multinational company, but to me the lines between work and life are forever blurred. Work/life balance feels like a 1990s term before e-mail, the Internet and smartphones — when all you needed to do was “work smarter” and make a few small changes to have your schedule fall into place. I’m all for flexible work arrangements and shutting down at certain times of the day, but the idea that there’s an ideal balance to be achieved (or that there’s a distinct line between work and “life”) seems a bit naïve today.

2. Leverage

Is there a more diluted word in business? I’m sure at one point it was used appropriately, as in “to apply a positional advantage.” Now we just use it as a fancier word for “use,” as in, I leveraged my keyboard to type this blog. Yuck.

1. Game Changer

This is my No. 1 because it should only be used to describe the few things in life that actually deserve it, yet every company uses the term like it’s going out of style. Netscape changed the game. Apple changed the game. Michael Jordan changed the game. The next dot-release of your 10-year old product? Not so much. Let’s save this term for when it’s really true. Deal?

Okay, so there’s my Not-So-Fab Five. Now what to do?

I’ve finally figured out a way to eliminate these words for all the discomfort it has caused us for years. The solution is precise, appropriate and — most of all — feels really good. Without further ado (unmute your speakers for full effect):

Didn’t that feel good? 🙂

If you want to create your own video, just download the free Action Movie FX app. Enjoy!

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      Author's profile photo Eduardo Rezende
      Eduardo Rezende

      Good thoughts.
      Very nice video! 😆

      Author's profile photo Kumar Akshat
      Kumar Akshat

      That's some out-of-the-box thinking, at the cost of your work-life balance, leveraging SCN to empower others to stop abuse of business jargon; I just wish it were game-changing also! 😉 😛 😀

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Blog Post Author

      Thanks, Kumar. Glad to see you're drinking the Kool-Aid 🙂

      Author's profile photo Kumar Akshat
      Kumar Akshat

      Yeah, I guess I forgot there is no silver bullet.

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      but this blogpost sure drives a lot of value!

      Author's profile photo Nishan Dev Singh
      Nishan Dev Singh

      Some more - Best Practice, Corporate value, It is what it is, and take offline !!!

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      'Leverage' is indeed annoying. And required or not, they use it almost everytime while addressing a set of people.

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Yep, we 'leverage' it much too much ;o)

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Dear Kim,

      Good article to follow .. 🙂


      Kiran N

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Sure is. In the same vein as "game changer", I also hate "next-generation" applications, platforms etc that "take your business to the next level" ;o) Anyone feel like building a bullshit bingo card we can all use in our meetings?

      Author's profile photo Srinu S
      Srinu S

      Nice thought. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

      Author's profile photo Chandra Shekhar Agarwal
      Chandra Shekhar Agarwal


      Author's profile photo Santharam Sivalenka
      Santharam Sivalenka

      I agree, the words carry the intentions .... No Hype.... being simple and appropriate in usage helps in conveying the point accross. Nice Thoughts putting accross boldly....