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23 Buzzwords That Make My Head Explode

By Gerald Walsh ©

Many of you know I detest buzzwords and other corporate jargon. In many cases, these are terms invented by consultants who take an old idea, put a new label on it, make it as confusing as possible, and then sell you a solution.

Unfortunately, in my line of work, I witness it all the time: job candidates using buzzwords on their resumes or during interviews in an effort to convey their business savvy. It usually backfires.

My rationale is: Why use confusing words when you can just use plain, simple language that everyone understands?

Here is my bi-annual list of buzzwords that drive me crazy. Let me know if you have others you would like added to the list.

Disruption

Still my #1 most annoying buzzword. If you say you’re a “disruptor” on your resume, you will never get a call from me.

Alignment

Not sure, but I think that means we agree.

Let’s marinade on that

Unless you are a steak that needs tenderizing, why don’t you just “think about it”? Someone recently said, “Let me ‘percolate’ on that” but he can be excused because he is a coffee connoisseur.

Gig economy

Evidently, this refers to people can’t find decent full-time jobs and have to work part-time job to make ends meet.

Circle back

Doesn’t going in a circle mean ending up where you started? Why would you want to do that?

Core competencies

You could just tell us what you’re good at instead.

There’s lots to ‘unpack’

Why don’t we just discuss stuff?

In the wheelhouse.

Seriously, if I was a ship’s captain, I’d be very insulted that the place where I work all day has been turned into a buzzword.  

Comms

Just use the full word “communications”. It does not take that much longer and eliminates a lot of confusion.

Customer-centric

Pay attention to the people who pay you. It can’t be that hard.

Deep dive or drill down

You don’t need to dive or drill. Just check it out.

30,000-foot view

All I know is when I look out a plane at 30,000 feet, I usually see clouds.

Going forward

I guess it’s possible you could be going backward. But I suspect if you are going anywhere, it is forward, right?

In the hopper

We’re gonna need a pretty big hopper by the time we stuff all these buzzwords in it.

NextGen

Short for ‘next generation.’ Pretty sure this refers to your children and their friends.

Paradigm shift

This one has been around for decades and it’s still annoying. You could just “think differently.”

Pivot

Doesn’t that mean changing your mind?

Price point

You can just say ‘price.’ It’s shorter.

Run it up the ladder

Why don’t you just talk to the boss?

Side hustle

Latest jargon for a ‘part-time job.’

We operate in silos

That means we don’t talk to each other.

Words that start with ‘uber’ (like uber-cool)

That means it’s pretty darn good ... if you like Uber, that is.

Monetize

Why not just tell us how you’re going to make money? Then everybody will understand what you mean.

But seriously … words matter. They can be powerful. Let’s try to speak and write with clarity. Simple, everyday words, constructed into short sentences, will be appreciated by your audience.


Gerald Walsh is an executive recruiter, career coach, public speaker and author. During a 30 year career, he has interviewed more than 10,000 job candidates, completed hundreds of successful searches for a range of organizations and guided many individuals – from young professionals to senior executives – to successful career change. He is the author of “PINNACLE: How to Land the Right Job and Find Fulfillment in Your Career.” You can follow Gerry on Twitter @Gerald_Walsh and LinkedIn.