7 Buzzwords Never to Use at the Office


Anyone who’s seen Office Space knows to avoid showing up at the office and declaring a coworker “Has a case of the Mondays!” but there are still a handful of absurd, meaningless, obnoxious terms that won’t die in the workplace.

If you want to avoid sounding like a cliché (or at the very least, sounding like you don’t know what you’re talking about) be sure never to use any of these seven buzzwords at the office…

Unless you’re a computer programmer, you should never be talking about your bandwidth. Not only does this word instantly confuse anyone who’s not as tech-savvy as you, it’s a silly way to say you don’t think you’re up to the task. If you don’t have enough “bandwidth” to get something done, say you don’t have the time, the resources, or the intelligence. Be specific.

“Best Practice”
In theory, shouldn’t everything you do at the office be a “best practice?” If not, why are you doing it? You get paid on the assumption that you’re doing the best you can do at all times, and if you lead other people it’s your job to make sure they’re doing the same. And it’s not practice, it’s your job.

Leverage is one of those once-useful words that got mangled by the business world to make people sound smarter than they are. There are dozens of words you can use besides leverage (think: use, utilize, pull) when you’re trying to describe how something can be used to make something else happen. And why are you talking about leveraging anything? Get back in your cube/office/company basketball court and make it happen already!

“Out of Pocket”
Where did this phrase even come from? Back before everyone had smartphones there wasn’t even a phrase for “out of pocket.” You just went home and everyone knew they couldn’t reach you. Nowadays it’s necessary to tell people when you won’t have access to email, phone, text, Twitter, bat signals, etc. and the dreaded “I’m out of pocket for the afternoon” was born. You’re not a kangaroo, so don’t talk about pockets. Just tell your colleagues you’re unavailable for a while.

Vertical as defined in the dictionary means, “in a position of being perpendicular to the plane of the horizon; upright.” Somewhere along the way “vertical” got lost and started to refer to any group of companies, industries, or otherwise similarly-organized businesses. Odds are you’re going to confuse people when you say you’re big in the “home goods vertical.” Just use the word “industry” or even “space” if you feel the need to be more colorful.

“Low-Hanging Fruit”
Ugh. Are you a monkey? Do you actually pick fruit off trees and eat it? Not only does the phrase “low-hanging fruit” make you sound like a botanist it implies you’re lazy. Don’t just go after the easiest grab! You should be striving for the hard-sells, the real business victories!

Fun fact: “Synergy” derives from Greek and has been in the dictionary since the 17th century. It came about as a way of explaining complex natural occurrences and morphed into a term used by nuclear physicists and engineers. “Syngery” is not something that happens when one new-age app developer comes together with an equally-lame social media consultant. Every time you say “synergy” at the office Albert Einstein rolls over in his grave.

Ask yourself: Are you guilty of using any of these 7 awful buzzwords?

[author ] Ryan is a Product Manager at BizShark.com, with 5 years experience in online marketing and product development.  In addition to web related businesses, he also enjoys the latest news and information on emerging technologies and open source projects.   [/author]

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