Buzzwords and clichés are part of most company cultures, but why are we so intent on using them?
The more you toss out those tiring words, the more they lose their meaning, and the less effective you are at communicating.
If you want to increase employee engagement and decrease their eye-rolling, then avoiding tired business jargon can go a long way.
Grab a notepad, write down these clichés, and then throw it in the garbage.
- It Is What It Is: This term comes off as uncaring and dismissive. Instead, try making a recommendation or simply stating that things can’t be changed.
- Do More With Less: What do you want people to do here? Spell it out so they understand what concessions need to be made to get things done more efficiently.
- Take It Offline/Circling Back: This kind of leaves a vague impression that further discussion is required. But when and where and with whom? Let people know you need to discuss this apart from the group and plan a time and place to do so.
- Take It To The Next Level/Move The Needle: This is also too vague. Be specific with what you expect whether it is an increase in sales, improved technology, better advertising or branding, etc. Give your employees tangible information that they can apply.
- It’s A Paradigm Shift: Not only do a lot of people not understand paradigms, but this cliché can really date you. Just indicate a change has happened that is of some significance.
- Low-Hanging Fruit: This is a typical sales manager term referring to easy sales. Instead, say these customers make ideal targets, explain why, and send the team out to explore opportunities.
- Out Of Pocket: The problem with this, other than being a cliché is that it’s ambiguous. It can mean losing money in a transaction or being unreachable. Simply say that.
- Bite The Bullet: Tough decisions are tough decisions. Show your leadership by making the decision without insinuating you’re the one taking all the risk.
- Run It Up The Flagpole/Put Out Feelers: When you need to understand the market or what people think, spell it out so everyone understands what steps will be taken to get an answer.
- Par For The Course: Skip the work-speak and just let people know this is a situation that’s expected and something that happens all the time.
- Think Outside The Box: This is another cliché that will really date you. Take a new perspective, use your imagination, look for creative solutions… these requests are much more 2020s.
- Peel Back The Layers: You want to look at something more closely, not make stew. This term along with “drill-down” is jargon that starts to lose its meaning. Ask for careful examination or for people to take a closer look.
- Limited Bandwidth: Too busy? Just say so.
- When Push Comes To Shove: You’ll do it or need someone else to do it only if it’s necessary. This has an aggressive tone that makes it sound like you’ll have to be forced to do something that isn’t as agreeable.
- Synergize: What? If you want people to work together, ask them to do so.
People can spot unoriginality from a mile away. When you drop the buzzwords, your employees will understand you, and you’ll be teaching them how to communicate effectively.