Business Buzzwords

By Matthew Weston

It is an undeniable fact that language (much like a lot of things) changes over time.

This change is why, for example, we don’t ask our friends whether they fancy visiting “ye olde tavern”, but instead opt for a text message consisting of one word: “pub?”.

Here at Stone’s Throw we’re all for progression, and this change in our language doesn’t worry us too much. What does concern us, however, has been the rise in recent years of words and phrases that can only be described as “buzzwords” – particularly in scripts.

If you’re in business, you’ll know what we mean by “buzzwords”. They’re the annoying figures of speech (mostly American) which have pervaded our Mother Tongue over the past decade or so, such as “going forward” or “run it up the flagpole”.

For this blog entry, we’ve compiled ten of these dreaded buzzwords – primarily those relating to business – and tell you why you really need to stop using them “right off the bat” (sorry).

“Synergy”

This simple term for two components joining together now seems to have become a catch-all phrase for any interaction between anything, anywhere. “They have great synergy” is particularly grating to our ears.

“Touch Base”

Our resident writer Patrick is a huge baseball fan (which is where this phrase originates), yet even he refuses to say “touch base” in a work environment. That should tell you a lot.

“Life hack(ing)”

When did a tip stop being called a tip?

Nowadays, any mundane tip related to any area of our lives is referred to as a “life hack”, e.g. you can use a clothes peg to hold a nail in place whilst hammering it.

That’s useful to know, but a “life hack” it isn’t.

“Cross-pollination”

According to the dictionary, cross-pollination is the “pollination of a flower or plant with pollen from another flower or plant.”

In the world of business however, it’s become a buzzword for the sharing of ideas. We think this one is best left to the scientists.

“Suck It and See”

Some things just sound wrong.

“Thought Leader”

Always a self-given title, “thought leader” has crept into our parlance in recent years to describe someone who, well, has some ideas sometimes. We don’t really like it, and we respectfully ask you to stop calling yourself one.

“Outside the box”

We’re all for creative thinking – which is what it should be called!

Thinking “outside the box”? What is the box? Where has it come from?!

“Pushing the envelope”

What envelope? Where has it come from?!

“Traction”

A relative newcomer to buzzword circles, “traction” has gone from being the thing that keeps a vehicle on the road to being a word which means a business or idea is going well.

We don’t dislike “traction” as much as some of the other words on this list, but it’s still not something we’re particularly keen on hearing in this context.

“Dynamic”

If your workforce are A) Motivated B) Hard-working C) Enthusiastic then we’re really pleased for you, but you don’t have to call them “dynamic”.

Those are the ten buzzword examples we came up with – apologies if we missed any that particularly drive you mad. If we have, why not let us know what they are on our social media channels?

In conclusion, here at Stone’s Throw we understand that language evolves, but we feel that sticking to plain English is our preferred option – particularly in the scripts for our videos.

By communicating clearly our scripts steer clear of jargon and confusing terms – and are, in our opinion, all the better for it!

Here’s our Mike with his take on this very subject. Enjoy!